Social Interaction and Depression in Seniors

Seniors who received in-person visits three or more times per week are about fifty percent less likely to develop depression than those with limited social encounters, according to a recent study published by the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.

Study participants who experienced lower rates of depression (8%) were those who had regularly seen family and friends, while the seniors who did not receive visits showed a depression rate of about 11.5%.

While texts, emails, phone calls, and even FaceTime or Skype may be more convenient for loved ones, not all forms of communication are created equal.

Other modes of communication just don’t compare to the authentic, quality time spent face-to-face.

Interestingly, the study revealed that different ages valued certain visitors over others. Younger seniors in their 50s and 60s tended to value visitors of there same generation, and enjoyed peer-interaction. Older seniors, however, craved frequent contact with their children and family

The study did reveal one caveat to the findings – if the face-to-face visits are frequently characterized by conflict, the risk of depression is greater rather than less with more visits.