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With Enough Friends, You Wont Have Time To Die

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A new Australian study says that if you’re a crabby old curmudgeon without any friends, you may have trouble-finding pallbearers at your early funeral. Okay so I paraphrased.

With Enough Friends, You Won't Have Time To Die

“Older people with better social networks with friends were less likely to die over a 10-year follow-up period than older people with poorer friends networks,” Lynne C. Giles of Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, told Reuters Health.

Published Thursday in the British Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, researchers add to the wealth of information that suggests that older people with lengthy social connections, engagement in recreation, and socially active habits in old age all help people stay healthier longer

This new study, however, is the first to differentiate the types of connections. According to the results, friends make you live longer, but family does not.

Of course those who’ve been shot while carving a Thanksgiving turkey know that family isn’t the best health remedy already.

Following 1500 elderly Australians who were at least 70-years-old for 10 years, Giles’ team determined that having a large family or network of relatives was not associated with longevity.

“Of course, that is not to say that social networks with children and other relatives are not important in many other ways,” Giles said.

Taking into account other health-affecting factors like sex, age, general health, and smoking, the study showed that older people with better social networks of friends were more likely to be alive at the end of the study than people with fewer friends. Additionally, those with strong networks of confidants tended to live longer.

Though they are unsure why this is, researchers think it may be that friends hold more influence on people’s willingness to engage in healthy behavior like not smoking or drinking. It could also be a matter of self-esteem.

Lots of friends can a person feel better about himself, and that could lead to longer life.

The study did not address whether those with elaborate social networks were healthier already, allowing them to make friends easier since they were able to be more active to begin with.

In an editorial connected with the study, Dr. Carlos Mendes de Leon of the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago suggests that feeling connected to others provides meaning and purpose to life that is essential to longevity.

With Enough Friends, You Wont Have Time To Die
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