Nothing says friendship better than a road trip. The camaraderie built from traveling, enjoying a destination, and creating memories can make for unbreakable bonds. Relationships are essential to people’s health, especially for seniors.
A four-year study of adults ages 50-90 discovered that healthy relationships improved people’s life satisfaction more than age, sex, education, and wealth. People with more friends and broader social networks experienced:
- Better self-rated health
- Fewer limiting illnesses
- Fewer chronic diseases
- Less chronic pain
- Fewer symptoms of depression
- Increased mobility
Cultivating relationships as a senior can be difficult, but the benefits are endless. Relationships tend to shrink with age, but things like volunteering or moving to a senior living community can significantly increase socialization for older adults.
Why is friendship important for senior health?
Seniors with more friends live longer and experience a 50 percent greater survival rate than isolated people. Having friends also encourages older adults to use their brains and bodies more often.
As people get older, activity levels tend to decrease. Bodies and brains in motion tend to stay in motion. Meeting up with friends is an excellent way to accomplish more walking steps and stimulate the mind.
Nurturing friendships can also play an important role in routine and give seniors something to look forward to enjoying. Some older adults may keep a calendar of when to call certain people, a regular lunch meet-up, or a scheduled time to play a game.
Isolation and loneliness are part of an epidemic for older adults. These factors can be a greater risk to health than obesity or smoking cigarettes. Socially isolated older adults tend to experience:
- 50 percent increased risk of developing dementia
- 29 percent increased risk of heart disease
- 32 percent increased risk of stroke
- 68 percent increased risk of hospitalization
- Higher risk of mental health problems like depression and anxiety
What kinds of friends are best for seniors?
Many experts say that friends are better for senior health than family members. Relatives, especially children, often assume the role of providing senior home care. Too many friends can lead to exhaustion and even feelings of insecurity.
Experts say the sweet spot is three to four good friends, and a supporting cast of fun people is best. Think of it as making friends with your closest neighbors and then the people you would run into at a block party.
A multi-generational report known as the Framingham Heart Study revealed an interesting happiness ranking score for the best type of friends for people to have. The top three included:
- Mutual friends who live in the neighborhood of each other
- Next door neighbor
- A nearby perceived friend (the other person didn’t reciprocate the friendship)
Surprisingly, siblings, spouses, and friends who live far away ranked near the bottom ten of the happiness scores.
Humans thrive the best in social circles of 150 people, says anthropologist Robin Dunbar. The first is a core group of five people, extending to groups of 15, 50, and 150. The outer groups include acquaintances, associates, and others you may be friendly with regularly. What’s interesting about this grouping is its similarity to senior care facilities.
Find Friends in California Senior Living
Every day begins with a chef-prepared breakfast in the dining room. Residents can sit with whomever they want before heading out to a group exercise class or community outing. Our daily activities allow seniors to meet different people with different interests.
Some of the ways to find friends in our community include:
- Worship services
- Chair yoga and tai chi
- Nail painting
- Patio games
- Happy Hours
- Lunch and shopping outings
Seniors may find that they bond closely with some more than others, but they’ll never need to be lonely in our community. Having a variety of friendships and options for new relationships leads to an enjoyable life.
About The Oaks at Inglewood
Compassionate caregivers and dedicated team members make life easy and enjoyable for seniors at our enhanced support retirement community in San Joaquin County.
Calling The Oaks at Inglewood home gives seniors in Stockton peace of mind. Our personal care plans focus on only the activities of daily living residents need to live confident and fulfilling lives.
Our senior care services include:
- Medication management
- Licensed nurse oversight
- Bathing, dressing, and grooming
- Wound care
- Dining assistance
- Three meals and snacks per day
- On-site physical, occupational, and speech therapy
The community aspect and lasting friendships created at The Oaks at Inglewood are qualities older adults may not find with home care services or long-term care facilities like nursing homes.
Residents live independently in senior-friendly apartments that come in a variety of floor plans. Housekeeping, laundry, maintenance, and transportation are also included.
Finding Friends in Senior Care
Older adults who want to extend their social networks and receive personalized senior care in Stockton, CA can visit The Oaks at Inglewood assisted living community. Contact us to arrange a tour and lunch.