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Why You Should Call Your Grandmother

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Hey you, listening to the radio, call your mother, your father, your grandparents. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have released a study that confirms we need each other to keep going. Just like BJ Leiderman keeps writing our theme music. They followed 1,600 adults with an average age of 71 and found that people who are lonely have a higher mortality rate. Companionship may be more important than income or health.

Rosemary Blieszner, a professor of human development at Virginia Tech, told The New York Times that one of the great gifts the elderly can develop is the ability to overlook. You bring a lot more experience to your friendships when you're older, she said. You know what's worth fighting about and not worth fighting about.

Go to a movie with a senior citizen, have lunch, watch reruns of "Law & Order," introduce them to Instagram, help them stay connected to life. They might be around longer and you might learn a lot from them.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND IN ME")

RANDY NEWMAN: You've got a friend in me. You've got a friend in me. When the road looks rough ahead and you're miles and miles from your nice warm bed, you just remember what your old pal, boy, you've got a friend in me.

SIMON: You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.