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Why Relationships Help Reduce Loneliness as We Age

Why Relationships Help Reduce Loneliness as We Age

Strong relationships can greatly reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation in seniors.

 

Time shared with friends and family is more important as we age than you might think. Relationships are always key to our happiness and well-being, and seniors get incredible health and wellness benefits from building close connections with loved ones.

 

Some of the Many Health & Wellness Benefits of Socialization for Seniors

Research shows that friends and family are good for the heart. In fact, seniors who keep strong, healthy relationships are one-third as likely to have heart disease. Getting friendly also lowers seniors’ risks for dementia by 40% while mitigating age-related cognitive decline. Socializing encourages more healthy activities among seniors, like outdoor walks, swimming, fishing, golfing, and many others. One study even shows that there was a connection between healthy social connects and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes!

Incredible health benefits aside, having great relationships as we age is also proven to improve our happiness and feelings of fulfillment. Building trust, sharing laughs, and swapping stories often with our favorite people clearly makes us feel less stressed, more confident, and happier. It’s even said that when we associate with more positive people, we tend to formulate more positive lifestyle changes like exercising, eating healthier, and being motivated to reach our goals.

 

Ways to Combat Loneliness

There are many ways to combat loneliness. For seniors, living in a warm, caring community environment is just one of these fantastic ways to make new friends and keep them close for years to come. It encourages shared meals, fulfilling conversations, engaging hobbies and exercise together, and so much more. Since residents’ friends are always near, there’s a level of daily connection and emotional support that might not be available in a home environment. It’s one of the many reasons why we love community living for seniors!

Here are a couple more ways to brighten up a senior’s day whether they live in a warm inclusive senior living community or if they still live at home.

  • Reach out and create plans for a day out on the town for lunch, a matinee, or a little shopping spree.
  • Call frequently or FaceTime to check in and talk about their day while reminiscing about fun laughable memories.
  • Visit with family and friends to spend quality time and engage in communal activities at their senior living community.
  • Being a part of a group or club is a great way for seniors to enjoy or develop a hobby while making new friends.
  • Even something as simple as a friendly greeting to someone who seniors don’t normally associate with might create a long-lasting friendship.

So, in the spirit of this year’s Best Friends Day, let’s all go share some laughs and spend some time with our favorite friends, family members, or someone new.

 

Sources

Brinkhues, Stephanie; Dukers-Mujrers, Nicole H.T.M.; Hoebe, Christian J.P.A.; van der Kallen, Carla J.H.; Dagnelie, Pieter C.; Koster, Annemarie; Henry, Ronald M.A.; Sep, Simone J.S.; Schaper, Nicolaas C.; Stehouwer, Coen D.A.; Bosma, Hans; Savelkoul, Paul H.M.; Schram, Miranada T. (2017, December 9) Socially isolated individuals are more prone to have newly diagnosed and prevalent type 2 diabetes mellitus – the Maastricht study – Retrieved from https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-017-4948-6

Cohut, Maria (2018, February 23) What are the health benefits of being social? Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321019.php

Elder Care Alliance. (2017, May 26). The importance of socialization in aging. Blog post. Retrieved from http://eldercarealliance.org/blog/importance-of-socialization-in-aging/

Gupta, Sanjay. (Updated 2015, August ). Why you should treat loneliness as a chronic illness. Everyday Health. Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/loneliness-can-really-hurt-you/

Pies, R. (2010). Loneliness is not a DSM-5 disorder, but it still hurts. Psych Central. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/blog/loneliness-is-not-a-dsm-5-disorder-but-it-still-hurts/

Porter, Brad. (2017, January 18). Loneliness might be a bigger health risk than smoking or obesity. Quora, Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/01/18/loneliness-might-be-a-bigger-health-risk-than-smoking-or-obesity/