Discover How Senior Friendships Can Impact Healthy Aging

Discover How Senior Friendships Can Impact Healthy Aging

Discover How Senior Friendships Can Impact Healthy Aging

Friendships enrich our lives in myriad ways: They provide emotional support, create a sense of belonging, and add immeasurable joy. Knowing that, it should come as no surprise that friends can help us live not only better lives, but longer and healthier ones, too.

This is especially true for seniors, who as time passes often lose the social networks associated with work or raising a family.

Of course, it’s not uncommon to lose touch with friends and family as we grow older, because life takes us in different directions and relationships change. However, what doesn’t change is the importance the bonds of friendship have on our health: A study from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago found that highly social seniors had a 70 percent lower rate of cognitive decline than their less-social peers.

Other research shows that friendships are as important as family ties in predicting emotional well-being later in life. Friends not only alleviate loneliness, they also provide social support when it comes to participating in activities, bring meaning to our lives, and provide us with a sense of purpose. The give-and-take nature of friendship requires us to be there for each other.

Understanding The Influence of Friends

By motivating us to be more active and social, friendships can contribute to staying physically and mentally fit as well. At The Landing, we make it easy to share wellness experiences with friends—perhaps yoga or a morning workout at Thrive Fitness & Wellness Center, taking an art history course through Watermark University, or even the indulgence of a day at the spa. Friends also keep us accountable, which is why we’re less likely to miss an engagement when we know someone is counting on us. And it’s less daunting to try a new activity, such as our EngageVR virtual-reality experience, when you have a partner in tow.

Making New Friends in Your Senior Years

Although it can be challenging to forge new friendships as an older adult, today’s senior living communities provide countless ways to connect with others. From joining a weekly bridge group to taking part in an Explorers Club enjoying a local excursion in Washington, D.C., The Landing is full of opportunities and spaces to socialize, meet other members, and develop relationships.

Cultivating Friendships Leads to a Wealth of Health Benefits

It’s nearly impossible to be happy without friends; in fact, shared experiences with them are a key predictor of happiness. Friends even do your heart good—studies show that those with fewer social ties have an increased risk of heart disease—and help mitigate the effects of stress. That can boost immunity, lower blood pressure, improve digestion, reduce muscle tension, and help you sleep more soundly.

Add it all up, and it means that perhaps the most important thing you can do for a long, healthy, and joyful life is spend more time with your friends.

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February 23, 2022