It is often said that older adults have better developed relationship skills, and as one ages it becomes easier to tolerate a friend’s imperfections and value new connections. But as life goes on, the difficulty of making new friends and acquaintances increases. Many people develop a friend set that they cherish through middle age, but become distant with during their senior years. This phenomenon can actually lead to significant health problems, as outlined by new research.

A study conducted at the University of California followed 1,600 participants with an average age of 71. They found that those who reported loneliness had a higher mortality rate than those that didn’t. Social isolation and loneliness also results in a higher risk of depression, cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and other illnesses such as coronary artery disease.

There is strong evidence to show that elders who are more social and who make an effort to forge new friendships often live more enjoyable lives than those who do not. To read the full article, visit the New York Time’s website here.

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