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Expert in aging offers tips for interacting with older family and friends during COVID-19 spread

A Virginia Tech expert in gerontology — the study of old age and the process of aging — encourages families to stay connected with their older loved ones while practicing social distancing, even as new challenges increase the complexity of staying in touch.

“Staying socially engaged is a critical part of healthy aging, and maintaining social connections combats loneliness and depression. Research has shown an association between meaningful social engagement and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, lower blood pressure, and sharper cognitive skills,” says Karen Roberto, a University Distinguished Professor, senior fellow at the Virginia Tech Center for Gerontology, and founding director of the Virginia Tech Institute for Society, Culture and Environment.

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