If it has been a long while since you’ve been surrounded by friends, you may have forgotten just how much fun it can be to socialize. And along those lines, life in a senior living community setting offers daily opportunities to meet with others, stay active, and participate in a wide range of events. There are many good reasons to get out and be a part of the community, including some that you may have never considered.
The Joy of Having Friends
At every age, everyone needs to feel the love and acceptance that friendship provides. As we grow older, however, the need is even greater. The sizes of households usually diminish as we age. If you are like many seniors, you have experienced a sense of isolation as a result of family members moving far away and you may live alone.
Being connected by participating in social gatherings is more important than ever and can help develop friendships. In all honesty, for many people, making friends is never quite as easy as an adult as in younger days. Effort is certainly required to make new friends, but friendships are definitely worth it. Friends can provide these benefits:
- Increase your happiness
- Boost your sense of purpose and belonging
- Bolster self-confidence
- Provide emotional support as you cope with life’s traumas, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or serious illness
- Provide motivation to choose more healthy habits and perhaps to kick bad habits
Here are a few tips for making new friends and maintaining healthy relationships:
- Remember that all friendships involve give-and-take.
- Strengthen your self-acceptance. It helps your self-esteem if you take care of yourself.
- Don’t judge others. Give people plenty of space to be themselves and to make mistakes.
- Be a positive person, avoiding complaints and negativity.
- Don’t bring competition into relationships. Celebrate the good fortune of others.
- Be a good listener.
- Keep personal information about others to yourself.
There are undeniable health benefits to being involved in social activities. One study showed that socially active seniors live an average of 2 and one-half years longer than seniors who are alone the majority of the time. Socializing actually has health benefits similar to physical exercise but without necessarily having to break a sweat.
Being involved with other people provides you with feelings of being worthwhile, which leads to a longer life. Studies suggest that socializing is possibly more important to overall health than good eating and health habits.
One experiment by researchers showed how susceptible a person may be to illness when living in isolation. Paid volunteers were all exposed to a cold virus. The people who had no or very few social contacts got sick with a cold at four times the rate of people who went on to be highly socially involved.
Quality of Life
If you’re going to live longer, of course you want something to look forward to every day. Staying actively involved with others is a wonderful way to improve the quality of your life. When you have friends that you share outside interests with, your life has a healthy sense of purpose. With friends, you multiply the joys in your life and divide the sorrows.
When you are connected with others, your life is less stressful, your mind stays more mentally sharp, your happiness is enhanced, you feel accepted, you gain the wonderful benefits of having a support system, and you tend to set and reach goals.
Some researchers have come to believe that you are able to function and sleep better by avoiding isolation.
There is a big difference between solitude and feeling lonely. Solitude can be a very positive thing, as long as it is not enjoyed to the total exclusion of relationships with others. Loneliness, on the other hand, is a feeling to be avoided. Being involved in your retirement community is an excellent way to avoid experiencing loneliness.
Researchers have found that loneliness can cause many problems, and perhaps the most prominent is that it can lead to poor health conditions, such as: inflammation of the body, hardening of the arteries, a weakened immune system, higher stress levels, and sleeplessness.
Something for Everyone
Daily activities and event calendars are always jam-packed with opportunities for you to mix and mingle with other seniors. You can start by attending activities you enjoy and branch out to try brand new experiences. All the while, you’ll be socializing with others. You are sure to find a new batch of friends who share the same interests. Life gets better and better when you stay active and make new connections and new memories with others.
Discovery Village at Palm Beach Gardens offers a variety of senior living programs to keep seniors healthy and active. Learn about our senior living options and amenities today when you contact us at 561.220.0078.