A new UK study suggests that older adults with larger social networks most frequently use their preventive health care benefits. This study came from analyzing about 5,300 UK adults born in 1964. Over the course of several decades, they were surveyed about their social relationships and the frequency in which they engaged in health checkups, immunizations, cancer screenings, and blood pressure assessments. Surveys ended once participants reached 68-69 years of age.
From this information, researchers found that participants with only a few social support people were 51% less likely to keep up with preventive health services than participants with many friends and family members. This finding suggests that improved social support networks may benefit the use of preventive health care among older adults.
These findings were published in The Lancet Public Health on August 21, 2018.