Risk Factors for Early Death in Seniors

Hook Law News | Apr 19, 2023 | Emily A. Martin

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of California have developed a tool to study factors that predict mortality. Along with age, gender, and medical conditions, the survey data also focused on social characteristics.

The research team followed 8,250 seniors for four years. In that time, 22% of the group died. Those who died prematurely had eight social characteristics in common:

  1. Poor neighborhood cleanliness
  2. Low perceived control over their financial situation
  3. Meeting with children less than yearly
  4. Not working for a salary
  5. Not being active with children
  6. Not volunteering
  7. Feeling isolated
  8. Being treated with less courtesy or respect

These risk factors, called the “Social Frailty Index,” reveal connection between social factors and physical health for seniors. Now that these findings are available, healthcare providers can look for these characteristics when creating a care management plan for their patients.

Importantly, this index also helps predict the likelihood that a senior will be able to “age in place” in their home and remain independent for as long as possible.

These findings suggest that friends, family, and community can help you live a longer and happier life. Seniors, their advisers, and their caregivers can use the Social Frailty Index to build a care plan that will address as many of the eight factors as possible as part of a comprehensive healthcare plan. Seniors and their families should work with doctors, estate planners, geriatric care managers, and healthcare providers to ensure that these needs get met.

Pet’s Corner: Ask Bootsie & Bailey

Hook Law: What can you tell us about the millions of strange creatures washing up on California beaches?

Bootsie & Bailey: This is interesting! Hundreds of these creatures, often called by-the-wind-sailors, are washing ashore in California as a result of strong winds from El Niño. They are similar to jellyfish, made up of colonies of hundreds of polyps on their undersides. They also have tiny hanging tentacles with stinging cells, although they are relatively harmless to humans. These creatures float with the currents of the ocean like tiny sailboats, feeding on algae and zooplankton. Scientists also expect ocean sunfish to appear in large quantities to feed on the by-the-wind sailors.

Emily A. Martin

Attorney, Shareholder, Esq.
757-399-7506 | 252-722-2890
[email protected]

Emily A. Martin is a Shareholder of Hook Law practicing in the areas of elder law, estate and trust administration, estate planning, asset protection planning, litigation and dispute resolution, guardianship and conservatorship, long-term care planning, special needs planning and financial planning. To date, Ms. Martin has overseen over 100 guardianship and conservatorship matters. In addition to being admitted to the Virginia State Bar and North Carolina State Bar, she is licensed to practice before the Department of Veterans Affairs. Ms. Martin is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. She is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington and Regent University School of Law. Prior to joining the firm in 2018, Emily worked as an estate planning and elder law attorney in Virginia Beach for several years.

Practice Areas

  • Elder Law
  • Estate & Trust Administration
  • Estate Planning
  • Asset Protection Planning
  • Guardianship & Conservatorship
  • Long-Term Care Planning
  • Special Needs Planning
  • Financial Planning
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