Keeping Seniors Healthy Through Friendships

Author: Robert Jo

All of us need close friends, no matter how old we are! Life can be tough and there’s no better way to face the challenges it brings than having a group of friends you can count on and even gain wisdom from. This is certainly true for seniors as well, and possibly even more important than ever as the aging process accelerates. It is a scientific fact that having a close circle of friends keeps seniors feeling younger, healthier and calmer.

What the Blue Zones Have Taught Us About Friendships

There are regions in the world where the average life span is the longest. Those areas are called The Blue Zones. In these zones, you will discover that people have many long-lasting friends who all keep their relationships a priority. One of the toughest things seniors face is isolation and loneliness. These friendships mitigate those issues, along with depression, heart disease, depression, and many more issues. Research tells us that older adults who are isolated most often die younger.

Researchers from Blue Zones have also discovered that social networking among seniors plays a significant role in maintaining healthier lifestyles. It can also be the opposite. For instance, being around second-hand smoke is risky if your friends smoke. Friends who are obese will tend to make activities revolve around food, and this can put you at risk for unhealthy weight gain. In fact, more than 50% of us will experience obesity if we have close friends who are also obese.

Making New Friends During Retirement

Often, retirement can pull us away from the social network we’ve created. As you leave the workplace where friendships have been made, it’s not uncommon to feel more isolated and have less in common with new friends. Another frequent change among seniors and their friends is moving away to once again be closer to their adult children and grandchildren. Maybe even some great-grandchildren! This can leave seniors left behind feeling depressed or lonely.

Here are a few ideas for expanding your social network during your senior years:

Volunteer: Volunteering is a wonderful way to connect you to people young and old! Many close friendships can be created while volunteering for causes that affect youth, as the wisdom and value of your years is greatly needed. Also, research proves that seniors just feel young and joyful when they are at play with kids!

Find a New Hobby: It is ALWAYS a good thing to keep your brain engaged and finding new skills. Finding something new to delve into with others is a great way to meet people and make friends. It could be things you always wanted to do but never had time. Whether it’s taking a class in painting, cooking or other skills, or even helping with a community garden. We feel younger and healthier when our brains are not dormant!

Nurture Your Soul: Seniors often become interested in nurturing their spiritual side, even if they haven’t done so before. For many older adults, church life is very important for staying engaged and always feeling the hope that comes with fellowship and believing in God. Perhaps you can join a support group or prayer group. If you have lost a spouse, finding comfort with others who also have walked that road can be a wonderful way to nurture your spirit.

Get Physical: Most fitness centers have classes designed just for seniors. They are designed to handle the aches and pains that come with aging, as well as a wonderful place to meet new friends. Doing water aerobics helps with arthritis, while mall-walking with friends is a great way to keep your energy up!

As you can see, there are many opportunities for people of all ages. There is just no reason for feeling isolated in today’s society! If you or your senior loved one are not aging as gracefully as you’d like, consider these tips today and start nurturing your spirit, mind, AND body!

For more helpful tips, visit our senior care blog.

Home Helpers of San Ramon is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, 24-hour live-in care, Alzheimer's & dementia care, Parkinson's care as well as homemaker services in San Ramon, Danville, Diablo, Moraga, Pleasanton, Castro Valley, Sunol, and Dublin, California.

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