A study that highlighted the plight of lonely grandparents also gave them a good excuse to guilt trip their kids into spending more family time together.
The research from the University of California, San Francisco revealed that loneliness is strongly connected to declining health as you get older.
The 1,600 adults followed by the study (with an average age of 71) tended to live longer when they had supportive friends and family members.
In the six years the study lasted, 23% of lonely participants passed away, while just 14% of people with strong relationships did. That’s despite the fact that the study controlled for health and socioeconomic factors.
The negative health effects of feeling isolated and alone are so well known that many countries are taking serious steps to help their loneliest citizens. The U.K. even appointed a minister focused on tackling loneliness.
Experts who weighed in on the study seem to agree that older people are often ignored or forgotten by younger friends and family members, who don’t have the social skills and consideration to look after their elders.
It seems unlikely, but new research also suggests that lonely grandparents could be the perfect companions for lonely teens and millennials.
A survey of 20,000 adults by the health service Cigna last year found that Gen Z (aged 18-22) and millennials (aged 23-37) rated themselves as the loneliest age groups.
Some technology experts say that social media obsession could make some people feel more alone, even though the apps and websites connect them to people around the world.
But while looking after children and grandparents can keep a person busy, having meaningful relationships with someone the same age as you is just as important.
Hopefully, you don’t need any special reason to invite your mom or dad (or grandparents) over for a family dinner once in a while, but it helps to think you’re keeping them alive to share their love just a little longer.