The Importance of Friendship for Seniors

Friendships are different from any relationship a person can have. On top of the fun times had, there are certain conversations you can have with a friend that you might not want to have with anyone else. They’re crucial to helping through difficult life transitions, both positive and negative.

Making and keeping friends isn’t as easy as it was when we were children, however. Work, appointments, and family are just a few of the many scheduling obstacles older adults experience. However, the importance of friendship for seniors cannot be understated. Friendship is directly correlated to a higher quality of life.

Friendship is good for the mind

Loneliness and isolation are some of the most common issues seniors face, which can exacerbate other issues a senior might face. Making regular plans to meet up with a friend—be it for lunch, a walk in the park, or a movie—will do wonders for your overall mental health.

Friendship has an impact not only on mental health but cognitive health as a whole. Researchers at Northwestern University have been studying “SuperAgers” since 2008. Despite being in their 80s, these individuals have memory similar to those 20, even 30, years their junior. The main correlative factor? Satisfying friendships.

Positive impacts on physical health too

Just as depression can impact one’s physical health, friendships can have positive ones. Aetna medical director, John Moore, found a major difference in the health outcomes of patients who were more socially active. These individuals had better health outcomes for chronic conditions than their counterparts who are isolated.

The same goes for one’s immune system. Those with stronger friendships recover more quickly from illness, experience lower blood pressure, and a better night’s sleep. One study even showed that those with better social connections have a 50% greater chance of living longer than those with few social ties.

Friendship leads to a healthier lifestyle

Adopting and maintaining healthy habits is far easier when we have the support of friends. When one friend starts taking their health more seriously via exercise and diet, other friends are sure to follow suit. You can even become one another’s accountability buddies by attending exercise classes or going to the gym together.

Friends encourage you to keep on track of your health needs, such as necessary doctor’s appointments. They may even notice when your hearing and vision aren’t what they once were, or if you require more assistance with mobility than you once did.

Remember: friendships need to be nurtured

We’ve all heard the saying: friendship is a two-way street. Both parties must make equal efforts to keep in touch with one another. Make a regular habit of getting together with friends. For those you can’t see in person, call or text regularly. They’ll be certain to return the favor.

Be considerate of your friends’ needs and any situations they are going through. Make sure your availability to known, and keep them up to date with your life as well. The exchange won’t be 50/50 every day. What matters is that you do your best to make the give and take of friendship as equal as possible.

Companionship through caregivers

Even when seniors have a group of friends, they can still feel lonely due to independent living. An in-home caregiver can provide the companionship and social interaction you need. At Home Care Powered by AUAF, our staff understands the importance of friendship for seniors. They are there to provide engaging, thoughtful interaction with you, on top of any assistance you need with activities of daily living.

To learn more about our services, call us at 773-274-9262.

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