Do you love your mom? I’m betting the vast majority of you answered with an emphatic “YES!” Towards that end, it stands to reason that you would naturally do whatever you could in your power to help your mom stay alive longer.
Well, science says there actually is something you can do to help: all you have to do is spend quality time with her whenever you can.
According to researchers at the University of California San Francisco, loneliness plays a large role in the various declines associated with old age. Their study followed 1600 adults aged 71 and up, and loneliness contributed to higher mortality rates more consistently than socioeconomic status and health – nearly 23% of lonely participants died within 6 years of the study.
“The need we’ve had our entire lives – people who know us, value us, who bring us joy – that never goes away,” says senior geriatric social worker Barbara Moscowitz.
It’s important to invite our older relatives round for dinner and visits, but it’s equally important to encourage the elderly to relationship with each other – this is why older folks who are still able to care for themselves might thrive in a community living scenario.
Plus, spending quality time with your parents will benefit you (and your children) as much as it does mom and dad – they’ve got a lifetime of experience, wisdom, humor, and recipes to impart, and most of them have more than enough time for a hug and a chat, when it’s needed.
Bottom line? Don’t think that just because your parents are retired that they’re okay by themselves, or that they’d rather avoid the chaos a young family might bring to the home – your craziness might be just what they need to keep them going into another decade.