Add this to your to-do list today: Shoot the breeze with an old person. By easing a senior citizen’s sense of loneliness, you’re actually prolonging his or her life. Who knew that a pow-wow could have so much power?
This is supported by a new study at the University of California, where researchers followed 1,604 older folks for several years. The ones who felt loneliest were most likely to die, or have increasing trouble with day-to-day activities like walking or climbing stairs.
Before you assume that Granny’s just fine because she lives in a bustling retirement facility, it’s worth noting that 43 percent of the study participants said they felt lonely – even though only 18 percent actually lived alone.
So pick up the phone, knock on a door, or pen a thoughtful note. It doesn’t matter how you reach out, and it doesn’t have to take much time. What it does is let someone know that even though they’re over the hill, they’re not necessarily below the radar.