According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, older adults lacking face-to-face contact with family and friends are at almost twice the risk of developing depression as those who see friends and family regularly. Data collected from more than 11,000 adults age 50 and older was used in the study, which was conducted by the University of Michigan as part of their Health and Retirement Survey done between 2004 and 2010.
The more personal, the better
Details of the study indicate that regular contact via telephone, letter or email has little, if any, effectiveness in offsetting the risk of depression associated with the lack of face-to-face contact. In fact, only 6.5% of participants who had face-to-face contact three times or more each week showed symptoms of depression, compared to 11.5% who had in-person contact only once every few months or less.
Past research also suggests that lack of social interaction of any kind can contribute to premature death, increasing the chance by 14%, which is twice that of obesity. Socially engaged seniors are also more resilient, allowing them to more easily cope with adversity in their lives and in the lives of their friends and families.
This study is but one in a long line that indicate we are a social people, and that our lives are richer and more meaningful when we have someone to share them with.
At Primrose, community is at the heart of everything we do. Friendships blossom here, as seniors from all walks of life share their stories with one another. Our residents often find that they have more time to go where they want and do what they want with their friends and families – and leave the housework to someone else! In fact, many of our assisted living residents experience positive changes in their health simply by spending time with their peers in such a supportive and active environment.
If you or a senior loved one are struggling with depression and isolation, and if you have questions about how Primrose can help, we would be honored to visit with you. Go to www.primroseretirement.com for more information, including contact info for the Primrose nearest you.