Has your mom ever told you it "kills her" that you don't visit as much as she wants? Well, she could be right.
For me, visiting my mom is not a nuisance, she's one of my best friends and the advice I get from her is second to none. But I also understand that some people find it hard to spend prolonged periods of time with their loved ones.
However, a new study indicates that even if you don't love going to see your mom, it might be worth it to suck it up so she lives longer!
It's already been documented that a relationship between grandparents and grandkids is healthier for everyone.
"We found that an emotionally close grandparent-adult grandchild relationship was associated with fewer symptoms of depression for both generations," said Sara M. Moorman, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and the Institute on Aging at Boston College. "The greater emotional support grandparents and adult grandchildren received from one another, the better their psychological health."
It also benefits the grandparents as well! The study found that grandparents who gave (and received) tangible support like rides to the store, help with chores, or money when things get tight, experienced fewer symptoms of depression over time.
"Studies have shown [loneliness is associated] with higher blood pressure, with nursing home admissions, with risky health behaviors like inactivity and smoking, and with dementia," research from the New York Times states.
But what does this new study say about spending time with your mom?
University of California San Francisco conducted a study, which followed 1,600 adults with an average age of 71 and, setting all other factors aside, those who were lonely had higher mortality rates.
Almost 23 percent of lonely participants "died within 6 years of the study, whereas only 14 percent of those who reported adequate companionship had."
"The need we've had our entire lives — people who know us, value us, who bring us joy — that never goes away," explained Barbara Moscowitz, a senior geriatric social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Gary Kennedy, director of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center, says the relationships we have with our parents as they grow older only increase in significance.
“They invest more in their remaining connections,” Kenned explained. “They optimize friendships, rather than try to maximize them.”
Even if you can't be with them physically, a phone call or a letter helps keep the connection strong. It's also noted that setting them up with friends is an important part of the aging process as well.
"They’re pretty tolerant of friends’ imperfections and idiosyncrasies, more than young adults,” Rosemary Blieszner, a distinguished professor of human development at Virginia Tech explained. “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.”