We’re all well aware by now that life can get busy. Juggling work, a social life and family time can be exhausting, and making time to see our parents can be even harder – especially if distance is a factor.
However, a new study has emphasised the importance of spending time with our mothers, finding that it can actually make them live longer.
The research, conducted by a team at University of California, has revealed that loneliness plays a huge part in he health and well-being of elderly people. This was concluded after they followed 1600 participants – who all had an average age of 71- and discovered that all of those who described themselves as lonely had higher rates of mortality as nearly a quarter of them died within six years of the study in contrast to the 14 per cent of those who said they were not lonely because they had friends and family around them.
As reported in Pretty 52, senior geriatric social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital, Barbara Moscowitz told The New York Times: ‘The need we’ve had our entire lives-people who know us, value us, who bring us joy-that never goes away.’
Explaining how older people cultivate friendships and relationships in different ways, she continued: ‘They’re pretty tolerant of friends’ imperfections and idiosyncrasies, more than young adults.
She added: ‘You bring a lot more experience to your friendships when you’re older. You know what’s worth fighting about and not worth fighting about.’
Sounds about right to us. As we grow, our priorities change and so do the things we look for in friendships, especially if we have lost friends to death or other things along the way. Therefore as people start to realise that they have little time left in life, they reject superficial relationships and focus more on the meaningful ones they have built.
This is suggested by Stanford University psychologist Laura Carstensen, who developed the theory called ‘socioemotional selectivity’, according to the New York Times report.