Older Adults Need Family
Family and friends are important at any age. In seniors, loneliness increases the risk of depression, heart disease, and other health problems. Now, a new study shows that being around family—not friends—later in life can actually lower the risk of death.
According to findings presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, study participants between the ages of 57 and 85 years who reported feeling "extremely close" to family members had a 6 percent risk of dying over the 5 year course of the study, and those who reported feeling "not very close" to relatives had a 14 percent risk.
Surprising researchers, the same reduction in death risk was not seen with friends—only family members. Those who listed more family members than friends as confidants, whether they reported feeling close or not, also had a lower risk of dying during the 5-year study period.
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