Tuesday March 19, 2013
How to live long and prosper? Hang out with friends, says study
The secret to living long and well into your twilight years? Have a vibrant social life, be a friendly neighbor, and appreciate the people around you, according to a new UK study.
A new study from the Office of National Statistics in the UK, which used data from some 40,000 British households, finds that seniors value their friendships more than younger people, and that having friends and being social can keep seniors healthier, longer.
In the survey, 60 percent of adults surveyed said that having friends in their neighborhood means a lot to them, with 64 percent of adults aged 50-54 saying this was this case. For those 70 and over, this rose to 80 percent.
The survey found that 69 percent of people in the 50-54 age group agreed or strongly agreed that they belonged to a neighbourhood or community. This rose to 84 percent for those aged 70 and over.
"We know that feeling you belong in a neighbourhood and having good friends can have a positive effect on an older person's health and wellbeing," says Michelle Mitchell, charity director general at senior-focused organisation Age UK.
Age UK works to help keep older people stay active in their communities to help prevent the isolation that can blight later life.
"Good transport links, public seating and toilets, safe and well-lit streets together with easy access to amenities such as the post office or banks all make it easier for older people to get out and about and stay visible and engaged within their communities," Mitchell adds.
Another separate study also found that having an active social life in mid-life is crucial to feeling happy and connected. Published last August in the "Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health," the UK study found a direct correlation between psychological well-being and the size of a person's support network and social life. -- AFPRelaxnews