Providing companionship is important for seniors who live alone. According to the National Academy of Sciences, loneliness takes its toll on happiness and well-being. Companionship can be the way that seniors and their family members have good quality of life.
Social interaction is important for people of all ages, but a new study suggests it could be even more crucial for older adults. Researchers from the United Kingdom found that adults 52 and older who were isolated from their friends and family had approximately a 26 percent higher risk of dying over the course of seven years, regardless of whether they felt lonely or not.
Previous studies have confirmed that loneliness could take a toll on the health and well-being of seniors, but this study suggests that feeling lonely is not the only cause of a heightened mortality risk. The findings, which were published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicate that it’s the lack of contact that has the biggest impact. Study leader Andrew Steptoe, director of the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care at University College London, says that’s because social interaction offers more than just companionship.
“Social connections can provide emotional support and warmth which is important but they also provide things like advice, making sure people take their medication and provide support in helping them to do things,” he told BBC News.
The results indicate the benefits companionship care can offer. Aside from providing social interaction, care providers can encourage seniors to stay mentally and physically active.