New research from the University of California, San Francisco, is telling us something old, yet again. That loneliness plays a big part in our long term health, and is an indicator of how long we grandparents may live.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that loneliness is a big factor when it comes to living longer. They studied 1,600 adults aged on average 71 years, and despite other factors that may have led to their mortality, those who were lonely died within six months of the study beginning.
All our lives we need to connect and be with others. It’s a huge part of what it means to be a human being. Even those of us who prefer a solitary, quiet life still crave for human companionship on a regular basis.
The need to connect with others goes beyond our family, and our grandchildren. These relationships are often biased and are not equal.
Friendships, on the other hand, are more balanced in regards to we give and take on a more equal setting. We share things, look after each other, and know we can rely on someone else who doesn’t look at us the way our children, and grandchildren do.
Baby boomers are great at relationships
Rosemary Blieszner, a professor of human development at Virginia Tech, told The New York Times that the grandparents have had a lifetime to hone the perfect relational skills.
“They’re pretty tolerant of friends’ imperfections and idiosyncrasies, more than young adults,” she said. They bring a lot more experience to friendships when they’re older. They know what’s worth fighting about and not worth fighting about.
While it is important we get out and spend more time with friends and family as we age, this research indicates that those grandparents who are living in assisted-living communities no much better than those who are living alone.
When we are with other people we live longer, feel better, and essentially thrive. Perhaps deep down we always knew this, but it is comforting that the medical world confirms it too.