Author(s): Centers for Disease Control, Centers for Disease Control
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Abstract Overall health can be influenced by multiple factors, including a person's psychological, behavioral, and social well-being. Studies have demonstrated an association between increased levels of social support and reduced risk for physical disease, mental illness, and mortality. Social support includes real or perceived resources provided by others that enable a person to feel cared for, valued, and part of a network of communication and mutual obligation. Social support can be critical for those older adults who rely on family, friends, or organizations to assist them with daily activities, provide companionship, and care for their well-being. The 1965 Older Americans Act recognized the need for social support by requiring that agencies on aging provide in-home services and group meals to foster social interactions. To examine how social support is related to health-related quality of life (HRQOL), CDC analyzed data from the 2000 Missouri Older Adults Needs Assessment Survey (MOANAS) of adults aged > or =60 years. This report describes the results of that analysis, which indicated that visits with friends or relatives, having close friends for emotional support, and the perception of help being available if sick or disabled were associated with better HRQOL and particularly with better mental health among older adults. Implementing effective prevention programs for older adults and encouraging interventions by agencies on aging can help improve HRQOL among older adults who have little social support.
This article was published in MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
and referenced in Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research