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The Value of Friendship and Social Relationships for Seniors

Companionship is important for seniors and even as they age, they still require love, friendship, and care. Friendships are a major contributor to your well-being and health. Not only does having a strong network of people around you make you feel happier, but it’s also good for your health. Regardless of age, friendship prevents loneliness, increases your sense of belonging, improves self-confidence, and encourages a healthy lifestyle.

Promote Well-Being

Having social connections is directly related to a person’s well being. Participating in social activities has been deemed a key factor in successful aging. People without friends are more likely to feel isolated and lonely, and many adults find it extremely challenging to make friends and sustain long-term friendships. This is because as you progress through new phases in life, you tend to develop different interests and values, thus your core group of people may change with your new pastimes. Older adults who invest in a social life are more likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections. Alongside this, engaging and developing friendships can provide enjoyment and comfort beyond what family members can offer. 

Increased Sense of Belonging

Regardless of age, we all desire to fit in; however, our need for belonging evolves throughout our lifespan as there is always an intuitive need to feel connected to a group. Feeling like you are a part of something and having someone to care for you allows you to feel secure. By fitting in one's environment, you are being recognized and valued by others. A sense of belonging is also important to social identity. Our social priorities tend to change as we age, largely in response to health problems, mobility issues, or even death of someone close to us. Older adults’ social needs are rooted in their personalities, desires, expectations, and cultures.

Decreases Feelings of Depression

Depression is extremely common among older individuals. Some of its symptoms include sadness, loss of interest in socializing or hobbies, lack of motivation and energy, and loss of self-worth. Social isolation in seniors can also result in reduced social skills and affects the psychological and cognitive health of seniors. Having a close friend to converse with relieves stress and provides emotional support, giving you an opportunity to rely on someone through the challenging and rewarding aspects in your life. 

Emotional Support

Seniors require a unique amount of emotional care. Most people assume that a strong family unit will sustain their need for support, yet a study done by the National Institute of Aging has shown that your friends are the ones who influence your happiness and habits. This has also shown that the need for friendship increases with age. Establishing connections with people who share the same lifestyle, hobbies, and interests provides feelings of joy while friendship keeps your mind and body strong by helping you deal with stress, make better lifestyle choices, and rebound from health issues and disease more quickly. Spending time with friends gives you an emotional boost and adds meaning to your life.

For those who need some level of support to remain as independent as possible, Vantage Point Retirement Living offers assisted living and personal care services designed to meet the individual needs of each resident. We also offer Active Adult Living that allows you to enjoy life the way you want, surrounded by those who share your interests and passions. For more information on the living communities we offer, visit our website!