In-Person Visits Reduce Risk for Depression

It’s probably common sense to most caregivers but face to face social contact is now formally connected with a decreased risk of depression among seniors over that age of 50, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The study, published October 6, 2015, measured the probability of older adults having depressive symptoms associated with in-person, telephone or written (or email) social contact.  Frequent in-person social interaction with family or friends, once or twice a week, significantly reduced the probability of clinically depressive symptoms.   The two-year study suggests that public health strategies to prevent depression in the elderly should promote and facilitate face-to-face social interaction.

It’s not clear exactly why in-person contact is more effective at reducing the risk of depression however it may be that taking the time to visit rather than call or write is felt to be more supportive.  We all enjoy talking in person and getting a good hug from a friend or relative.  Older adults may find telephone calls difficult if they suffer from hearing loss;  they may not be able to participate fully in a conversation in the same manner as in person.  Written contact is one step further removed; you can’t hear the familiar voice or see the face of a loved-one.

But don’t stop writing, calling and sending photos to the seniors in your life.  When a visit isn’t possible, a note in the mail or a call can still help older adults feel connected and supported to family and friends.

To read to full study visit the Wiley Online Library at: .