Over 65? Take the Harvard quiz to see your percentage risk of dying over the next five years

A revealing study from Harvard University last week revealed eight surprising factors that increase the risk of dying prematurely – such as living in an unsanitary neighborhood, being separated from children or not being respected.

Now, the authors of the paper have developed a first-of-its-kind calculator that factors in these new risk factors to give users a percentage risk of dying within the next four years.

Aimed at people aged 65 and over, it asks users their age and gender before asking them about eight social factors measuring whether they feel isolated and what type of area they live in.

It then uses them to estimate the risk of dying from any cause. The tool doesn’t detail exactly what patients are most likely to die from, but loneliness, pollution and a lack of social connections can lead to chronic stress and a lack of mental stimulation – which increases dementia, illnesses heart and other chronic diseases.

Dr. Sachin Shah, an assistant physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and a fellow at Harvard Medical School, devised the tool, dubbed the Social Frailty Index.

He told DailyMail.com that the calculator was designed for people over 65 because “it is not possible to extrapolate accurately to people under 65”.

“We often overemphasize medical conditions when we think about longevity. (But) this research demonstrates that our social lives are as important as medical conditions.

The 10-question calculator was designed based on a study published earlier this month in the scientific journal PNAS.

In the paper, the scientists recruited more than 8,000 adults over the age of 65 and asked them about social factors. They were then followed for four years, during which 1,760 (22%) died.

The analyzes identified eight social factors that scientists believe predicted an individual’s risk of premature death.

These were: how often they saw their children and grandchildren, whether they volunteered, how often they felt isolated, whether they lived in a clean area, whether they had control over their finances, how often they felt treated with less courtesy and respect by others, and whether they were currently in paid work.

Scientists said most research on death risks actually ignores social factors. For this reason, they set out to develop a tool that could be used to measure them – which they believe could be used in a clinical setting.

DailyMail.com tested the calculator. We found that 70-year-old men who lived in a clean area and were active in the community had a 7% risk of death over the next four years. But for those who lived in filthy neighborhoods and were socially isolated, the risk was 67%.

For women of the same age, who are less likely to develop chronic diseases for multiple reasons, their risk increased from about 2% to 54%, respectively.

Scientists have suggested for years that loneliness — not seeing family and friends often — poses as many health risks as obesity or smoking.

When someone is alone, it triggers the body’s fight or flight response. This causes stress hormones and inflammation levels to rise.

It’s not dangerous in the short term, but if someone regularly feels lonely, the constant inflammation can weaken the immune system and raise blood pressure.

This, in turn, increases the risk of a myriad of health problems, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and obesity.

A 2015 meta-analysis of more than three million people found that those who were alone were 26-32% more likely to die prematurely than those who weren’t. Another Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) article published in 2020 found that lonely people were 50% more likely to get dementia.

There are also downsides to deciding to retire, scientists say.

Retirement brings about a change in activity patterns – such as not moving around – which puts people at higher risk of obesity and forces them to do less mentally demanding activities.

Above are the eight factors that scientists believe could predict a shorter life. These were being alone (1), living in a neighborhood with dirty streets (2), having little control over finances (3), meeting children less than once a year (4 ), not working for pay (5), avoiding children (6), not volunteering (7) and being treated with less courtesy or respect (8)
Life expectancy at birth for both sexes in 2021 is 76.4 years, its lowest level since 1996 when it was 76.1 years. Male life expectancy has decreased more than female life expectancy between 2021 and 2020 ¿ male life expectancy by 0.7 years and female life expectancy by 0.6
A total of 3,464,231 deaths were recorded in the United States in 2021. The 10 leading causes of death accounted for 74.5% of all deaths in the United States in 2021. Unintentional injuries include drug overdoses.

A number of studies have shown that those who retire at 62, the minimum retirement age, generally do not live as long as those who remain in work for many years.

It could also leave a person less able to afford good health care or a balanced diet, scientists have warned, especially for those with smaller savings when they retire.

All over 65s in the United States are eligible for health insurance, but they are still required to pay for insurance through copays, premiums, and deductibles. For many, the costs arise despite paying for insurance for decades.

In the United States, men are expected to live to be 74 years and six months on average, while women have a life expectancy of almost six years above 80 years and two months.

Women are known to live longer than men, which has been attributed to differences in hormones, the immune system and are less likely to avoid doctors.

Why drinking tea could really help you live longer: study

A study of half a million people in the UK found that those who drank two or more cups a day were up to 13% less likely to die from any cause.

But scientists have suggested that even with these differences, a socially active man will live longer than an isolated woman of the same age.

The Social Frailty Index, published earlier this month in the journal PNAS, was developed by scientists from Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco.

To develop the scale, scientists surveyed more than 8,000 people over the age of 65 on 183 social characteristics.

Four years later, they came back and found that 1,760 participants (22%) had died.

Analyzes were then carried out to establish the eight factors most likely to predict an individual’s risk of death during these four years, which were then incorporated into the index of social frailty.

Among the eight factors increasing a person’s risk of premature death were living in a dirty place, meeting children less than once a year, and not staying involved in the community through activities such as volunteering (list below).

Dr Shah, who led the research, said: ‘

The frailty index comes after life expectancy in the United States fell to its lowest level since 1996 amid the fentanyl epidemic and the Covid hangover.

Overall, adults born in 2021 are expected to live only 76 years and five months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This is the second straight year that U.S. life expectancy has fallen, falling from a peak of 78 years and ten months in 2014. It is now at its lowest level since 1996, when it was 76 years and one month.

Scientists have blamed the Covid crisis on the fall, which triggered the biggest annual drop in the estimate since World War II.

But even as Covid has receded, the number of non-Covid excess deaths has risen this year due to delayed hospital care, shutdowns and other restrictions leading people to avoid healthcare.

Policymakers have been tasked with finding ways to bring the US life expectancy estimate back to its previous steady ascent.

What questions does the tool ask to predict the life expectancy of people over 65?

Scientists led by Harvard University have developed an online tool to predict the likelihood that an older person will live for the next four years.

It is designed only for people aged 65 and over and works by asking their age and gender before considering eight social factors.

These are:

  1. Do you have living children?
  2. Thinking of all your living children, how often do you meet (including arranged and casual meetings)?
  3. Please tell us how often you do each activity: Do activities with grandchildren, nieces/nephews or neighborhood children, and do volunteer or charity work
  4. How long do you feel isolated from others?
  5. This next question asks you how you feel about your neighborhood, which is anywhere within a 20 minute walk or about a mile of your home. The closer your rating is to a statement, the more you agree with it (ranked from 1, this area is very clean, at 7, this area is always full of trash)
  6. Using a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 means “no control at all” and 10 means “a lot of control”, how would you rate the amount of control you have over your financial situation these days?
  7. In your everyday life, how often have any of the following things happened to you? You are treated with less courtesy or respect than others
  8. Are you currently working for pay?

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