Why Friendship Is Important to Healthy Senior Aging

No one wants to grow old and alone. After all, we’re wired for social connection.

Having a strong support group was critical to survival for our ancestors living on the savannahs of East Africa. And while the odds of being attacked by lions are pretty small these days, having friends you can count on makes a big difference in your quality of life. Especially friendships in late adulthood.

Good friendships can dispel loneliness, improve health, boost your mood, enhance feelings of self-worth, and add purpose to your life. There’s even evidence that friendship is linked to longevity.

Studies have found socializing strengthens the immune system. It can help us recover more quickly from illness, lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease, sharpen memory, and help us get a better night’s sleep. According to one study, people with stronger social relationships had a 50% greater chance of outliving those with fewer social ties.

Good Friends Are Good for Your Health

The most important finding in the science of friendship is that people with more and better social relationships are almost always healthier and live longer. But forging new friendships during your golden years may require extra effort. Here are some steps you can take to connect with others and make new friends:

Volunteer

Pitching in to help others isn’t just good for your community. It’s also a reason to get out of the house and meet people who share your values. 

Take a Class

Whether you want to learn a new language or sharpen your piano playing skills, a class can give your brain a workout and introduce you to potential study buddies.

Join a Gym

It’ll help you stay fit and introduce you to a host of potential friends. Many gyms offer a variety of classes, such as yoga, Zumba, dance, swimming, and fall prevention.

Head Outside

If the gym’s not your scene, try an activity that will get you out of the house and moving around. Walk in the park, go bowling, play golf — something that you enjoy doing in the company of others.

Get Involved with Your Faith Community

If you’re religious, check out events happening at your place of worship. Many offer social gatherings designed specifically for seniors.

Tap into Social Media

Sites like Facebook can help you reconnect with old friends and start new friendships with others from shared communities.

Once you’ve met new people, it takes some effort to develop friendships. Besides emails and texts, set up face-to-face dates — the best way to ensure that your friendships grow. Often the difference between a friendship and an acquaintance is the level of intimacy — knowing key things about each other such as values, goals and struggles. 

We Love Making New Friends at Sedgebrook

One big advantage of moving to Sedgebrook is that it’s very easy to make new friends. From fitness and lifelong learning classes to bridge clubs and outings, there are endless opportunities to pursue your interests and meet new people. It’s all easily accessible, just a short walk from your door. So there’s really no excuse for not putting yourself out there. And with all the benefits friendships convey, you’ll feel better surrounded by neighbors who become good friends.

To learn more about how Sedgebrook can expand your social circle, get in touch.

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