Research: Older people with frequent social contacts live longer

Frequent social interaction with other people may give very old people more years to live, according to new scientific study

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Frequent socializing with other people can give the very old more years of life, according to a new Chinese scientific study. People who have social contacts on an almost daily basis benefit the most in terms of life expectancy.

Given that approximately one billion people in the world are over the age of 60 and their number is expected to have doubled by 2060, more and more attention is being paid to the so-called third age. There is a gradual increase in scientific research advocating "active" aging in every respect (with more physical, mental and social activity).

The researchers, led by Dr. Shen He of the West China Hospital of Sichuan University, who published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, analyzed data on 28.563 very old people (average age 89). . How often they participated in various social activities was recorded and correlated with their likelihood of survival over the next five years. 25.406 had no social activity, 1.370 sometimes, 693 at least once a month, 553 at least once a week and 532 almost every day.

During the study, 21.161 (74%) died. The more frequent social contacts a person had, the greater the probability of living longer. Over a period of five years, 18,4% of those who had no social activity died, 8,8% of those who had occasional social contacts, 8,3% of those who had at least one a month, 7,5% of those who had at least one a week and 7,3% of those who had some social contact or activity almost every day.

Compared to those who were never socially active, the time to death was delayed by 42% in those who had occasional social activities, 48% in those who had at least one social activity monthly, 110% in those who had at least one social activity weekly, and 204% in those who had almost daily social activities. .

More sociable were very old men, married, highly educated, living in a city with relatives, and in good health. The researchers said it is not entirely clear why social activity in old age may extend survival, especially if it is combined with exercise and a healthy diet. It probably plays a key role that social contacts are an antidote to chronic stress.

Source: RES-EAP