You’d do anything for your mom. She’s been your friend, support, confidant and role model throughout your life. But you’re not as young as you used to be, which means she’s getting up there in age as well. Death is a natural part of life, but here’s how experts say you can extend your mom’s life out a bit longer.
First, here’s what’s shortening her lifespan
Researchers doing a study on loneliness in older folks published some startling findings back in 2012:
“Among participants who were older than 60 years, loneliness was a predictor of functional decline and death,” the study says.
How big of a factor? Well, after controlling other influential factors of the 1600 participants, researchers found that over a six-year follow-up period about 23 percent of those that identified as “lonely” died. Only about 14 percent of non-lonely participants had died after the same amount of time.
But let’s take a second to focus on an even scarier phrase from their findings: “Functional decline.” What does that mean?
The study not only found that loneliness is a factor affecting mortality, but also one that leads to it. Researchers found that subjects who identified as “lonely” also experienced increased disability, decreased mobility and increased difficulty with upper extremity tasks.
Here’s what you can do about it
Pay mom a visit. She needs to feel loved, included and wanted. When was the last time you talked? How’s her social life?
Another shocking study on social relationships shows just how much of an effect sociality has on an individual’s health.
The study followed the social relationships of over 300,000 people over seven and a half years. Here’s what they found:
“Individuals with adequate social relationships have a 50 [percent] greater likelihood of survival compared to those with poor or insufficient social relationships.”
The study says that the sociality health risk factor is even more influential on a person’s health than obesity or inactivity (no matter the person’s age). That’s a big deal.
Being social is easier now than it has ever been in the history of the world. You can communicate with mom from almost anywhere on the planet, as often as you’d like. Make a renewed effort to give her the love and attention she deserves. It may just extend her life.