5 Age Defying Benefits of Senior Friendships
For Your Elderly Loved One’s Social, Emotional And Physical Well-Being
The golden years truly are for forming lifelong bonds that will undoubtedly enrich life and slow the aging process. There’s no doubt friendship is a key factor in successful aging, and there are a number of ways in which you can help a lonely or socially isolated elderly loved one reap the benefits of social interaction. Loss, physical changes, and retirement are realities for a significant portion of our senior population; that’s why it’s so important for our elderly relatives to be able to reach out for support and companionship from both their friends and family.
“In older adults, the effects of social activities with friends may become more important and may act as a buffer against negative effects of aging,” according to a study from The Journals of Gerontology.
You’re never too old to find new friends.
Here are five social, emotional and physical benefits your senior loved one will gain from broadening their social network:
1. Friendship Adds Years To Your Life
“It’s so important for your senior parent or relative to have a support group of friends looking out for them at all times.”
Not only does social interaction improve the quality of your senior loved one’s life, but it also prolongs the length of their life. Relationships play a key role in health and life expectancy; and as you advance into old age, the support you receive from social relationships is more important than ever — but it can sometimes be harder to find. You can encourage your loved one to participate in recreational activities or classes within their aged care facility or a local community network.
It’s so important for your senior parent or relative to have a support group of friends looking out for them at all times. The Palm Lake Care community extends a welcoming hand to our elderly residents, to facilitate their socialisation needs with lifelong friendships.
2. Interaction Prevents Elderly Isolation
“Elderly adults who are part of a social group or network that nurtures their hobbies and interests are far less likely to succumb to the negative impacts of social isolation.”
Preventing feelings of loneliness and isolation is the first thing that springs to mind when one considers the importance of maintaining meaningful connections in our senior years. Elderly adults who are part of a social group or network that nurtures their hobbies and interests are far less likely to succumb to the negative impacts of social isolation.
So it’s time to motivate your elderly family member to get involved in their community and pursue the things they love doing. Suggest they share a meal with a neighbour or fellow aged care resident every so often. Friends and family members are often the first to notice a senior suffering from depression or social isolation, so it’s important to arrange a professional to support them through this difficult time. Palm Lake Care offer fun days, bingo and other group activities your senior parent can participate in to help them form lifelong connections with other aged care residents.
3. Social Seniors Lower The Risk Of Dementia
“Not only does friendship stimulate the brain, but it can also encourage healthy behaviours, including eating well and taking medications.”
We now know that having friends helps you live longer; but did you know that by increasing your social network, you’re also helping to stave off cognitive diseases like dementia? A recent study found the most social seniors had a 70% reduction in the rate of cognitive decline than their least social peers. It’s so important for our elderly loved ones to continue to lead an engaging lifestyle in their later years, and to enjoy life’s simple pleasures in good company. Not only does friendship stimulate the brain, but it can also encourage healthy behaviours, including eating well and taking medications.
Family interaction is important; but so too is peer synergy. There are number of ways in which you can empower seniors to form strong bonds with their neighbouring aged care residents. If your elderly parent lives independently, perhaps a neighbour with shared interests could offer their invaluable friendship. Residents of Palm Lake Care often connect over games like chess and bingo — keeping cognition sharp and uplifting the community spirit with laughter and good fun.
4. Connection Boosts The Immune System
“The connection between immunity and socialisation is indisputable, so ensure your loved one has a solid social network that encourages good health and well-being.”
While the natural aging process does affect the immune system, it doesn’t mean you senior loved one can’t enjoy a healthy, happy life. Chronic stress and depression from a lack of social interaction produces high levels of stress hormones, which are likely to suppress your elderly relative’s immune system over time.
The connection between immunity and socialisation is indisputable, so ensure your loved one has a solid social network that encourages good health and well-being.
Dining should be a shared experience — your senior relative can connect with their peers over a nutritious, wholesome meal that’s also guaranteed to rouse some laughter. Talk to your loved one about their social habits; you may consider helping them organise regular catch ups or outings with other seniors.
5. Friends Keep Seniors Active
“Staying active through fun organised activities can improve senior arthritis and cardiovascular health.”
Friendship is so important for our social and emotional well-being, but what about our physical health? There are a number of secrets to slow the aging process, one of which is to stay active — and socialising is the best and easiest way to keep senior bodies healthy. The right amount of gentle exercise through fun organised activities can improve senior arthritis and cardiovascular health. Getting elderly bodies moving and blood flowing is so important; but remember, laughter is the best medicine.
If your loved one is looking for a new way to make friends and promote physical and mental engagement, check to see what kind of programs their aged care facility offers. Palm Lake Care has introduced line dancing classes for our residents as a great way to stay connected and develop meaningful relationships with each other.
Friendship Can Grow In The Most Unexpected Ways.
So it’s clear; the benefits of friendship are universal. No matter what your age, spending time with your peers and sharing lifelong memories with others can enrich life in ways you might not expect. If your elderly parent is struggling to meet people, you can inspire them to take initiative and be a friend to someone in need of social support.
Remember, friendship isn’t always conventional. There are so many ways to discover true friendship, and becoming more active within the community is a great place to start.