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Active Social Life Helps Keep Aging Mind Sharp
Date:5/29/2008

l care," she said.

Home help services targeted to the bereaved immediately after a spouse's death might help ease the strain, Nihtila said.

One expert said the studies highlight the problem of growing social isolation among the elderly.

"There is nothing like being face-to-face with someone," said Colin Milner, CEO of the Vancouver-based International Council on Active Aging. "But I think we are manufacturing that [contact] out of our lifestyle and that will have a long term detrimental effect on the mental health of the population," he said.

More outreach to older people, especially when a spouse dies, will be key, Milner said. "There should be programs when a spouse dies to help them get back into the swing of life," he said.

More information

For more on healthy aging, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



SOURCES: Elina Nihtila, Department of Sociology, University of Helsinki, Finland; Karen Ertel, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; Colin Milner, CEO, International Council on Active Aging, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; May 29, 2008, online edition, American Journal of Public Health


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