Old age isn't as lonely as you might think, heartening new research suggests.
An Auckland University shows the country's oldest citizens are happy with the relationships they have with family and friends, and get all the emotional support they need.
In fact, more than 90 percent of almost 1000 80-to-90 year olds polled were satisfied with their emotional connections all or most of the time.
The researchers said it was heartening and reassuring to hear such a positive take on life as a very elderly person in New Zealand.
The results are in contrast to media reports of lonely older people who die in their homes and go undiscovered for weeks or even months.
The findings were drawn from Life and Living in Advanced Age, a longitudinal study which follows a group of Maori and non-Maori people living in Bay of Plenty.
Non-Maori, women and those living with others tended to be most satisfied with their relationships, said study director and population health expert Professor Ngaire Kerse.
Men reported getting emotional support from their wives while elderly women said they were predominantly supported by a daughter, she said.
Just 10 percent of those questioned admitted wanting more emotional support than they get.