In today’s world of information technology and social media, there are people with hundreds of friends on Facebook, thousands of followers on Twitter and Instagram and a huge presence on other social media platforms, but lack a real social circle. With the current generation sparing no time for their elders and people getting busier with their lives, the elder people are now dying due to a lack of adequate companionship.
According to a study by the researchers at the University of California, loneliness plays a larger part in the decline of a person rather than old age.
The study was conducted on 1600 adults with an average age of 71 and found that the lonely people consistently held high mortality rates. About 23% lonely participants died within six years of the study, against 14% of those with an ample companionship.
Barbara Moscowitz, a senior geriatric social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital explains the importance of a companionship in the later years of life.
“THE NEED WE’VE HAD OUR ENTIRE LIVES — PEOPLE WHO KNOW US, VALUE US, WHO BRING US JOY — THAT NEVER GOES AWAY.”
As people grow older their social circle starts shrinking. Friendships that have been honed for decades go void as their companions and confidants retire, get ill or pass away.
Rosemary Blieszner, a professor of human development at Virginia Tech, says that the elderly place greater values in relationships and friendships than their children and grandchildren.
“THEY’RE PRETTY TOLERANT OF FRIENDS’ IMPERFECTIONS AND IDIOSYNCRASIES, MORE THAN YOUNG ADULTS. YOU BRING A LOT MORE EXPERIENCE TO YOUR FRIENDSHIPS WHEN YOU’RE OLDER. YOU KNOW WHAT’S WORTH FIGHTING ABOUT AND NOT WORTH FIGHTING ABOUT.”
It is thus important for us to stay close to the elders in our family and help them socialise and make new friends. Not only will it help them in spending their twilight years happily and give them a longer life, it will also give us their unconditional love and their epic stories.
News Source: The New York Times