Commenting on researching showing  social group membership is as important as regular exercise to health in older age, Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age, the older people's charity, said:

“This research underlines the importance of making sure older people stay connected to their communities.  It’s yet more evidence that having a sense of purpose and taking part in meaningful activity can make a really positive difference to health and wellbeing in later life.

“We provide befriending services to older people across the country, so we see first-hand the enormous positive impact social interaction has on older people who might otherwise be isolated. As the population ages and family structures change, combating loneliness is increasingly going to become a pressing public policy issue, and it’s important that much more is done to tackle this issue.”

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