Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Older Adult Health, Friendships: Horse Lessons (Research, Video 4:48)

Although it’s well known that social relationships and trust are associated with psychological well-being and physical health, a researched-based reminder and video can still be helpful. This study on older adult social health included 149 community-dwelling adults aged 65 years and older (68 men, 81 women). Activities of daily living, social cohesion and trust, depression, subjective quality of life, current medical status, past medical history, and health behaviors were assessed in face-to-face interviews. Even neurobehavioral physical functions were assessed.

What were the research results?

As expected, scores for activities of daily living and Geriatric Depression Scale were significantly correlated with social cohesion and trust. Social cohesion and trust were significantly correlated with all subjective quality of life items. In addition, a strong correlation was observed between social cohesion, trust, and relationships with friends. Values for social cohesion and trust were significantly associated with both subjective sense of health and subjective happiness.

How does this influence our assessment of older adults?
Social cohesion and trust are important variables that influence self-rated health and happiness, independently of activities of daily living, age, and sex. When assessing geriatric psychological function, social cohesion and trust should be examined more carefully, given the association with a subjective sense of health, happiness, depression, and physical function.

What do horses have to do with this?
Plenty. If you’re like I am and don’t know jack about horse relationships, this video is a great introduction. Meet Arthur, William, and Harry in this delightful video. Savor what they teach us about friendship and trust at any age.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

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