Many years ago when my daughters first went to school, I worried about whether or not they would find a friend. The benefits of having someone who you can count on during the long school day was important and I completely understood the dynamics of the classroom. A buddy would definitely be an advantage and make the experience easier and more enjoyable.
This notion carried with me as they transitioned through their school years, from a new high school to college and even their first full time employment. Good friendships are beneficial as you navigate through all of the phases of growing up.
But these positive benefits are not only for the young. As I have gone through the different stages of my life, I rely on my good friends more and more. And studies have shown, that the need for good friends throughout your life doesn’t end. In fact, the benefits for older individuals are just as significant.
There are many studies that have shown the positive benefits of friendship on social, emotional and physical well-being. And having a strong circle of friends can be a good boost for aging hearts and can help the body’s autoimmune system resist disease. People who have one or more good friends are in better health than those who have only casual friends or no friends.
Because of physical changes, loss and retirement, friendship is very important for older people. In many cases, friends are as important as families. Many people turn to their friends first when they encounter many situations including health issues or family problems.
Friends can also play a significant role in promoting your overall health. Studies show that adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of health problems such as depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index. They even live longer that those who don’t have this support.
People without friends are likely to feel isolated and lonely. In the U.S., one in three women and one in seven men aged 65 or older lives alone. Men usually have a harder time dealing with widowhood than women. About two-thirds of older men reported that they did not have a close friend, and 16 percent of widows reported having no friends. Older adults living alone need to reach out to friends for companionship, support and human contact.
Even having one very close friend can do so much to help relieve stress and depression. Close friendship provides emotional support as friends comfort, help, share and inform each other. In addition to emotional support, friendship can help enrich a person’s physical, mental and social health and help us adjust to changes through the rewarding and challenging times of life.
Many times your friends can help guide you as you go through some of the same things that they have encountered. Aging can be difficult, but sharing your journey and experiences with others can make it much easier.
Hope you have a great week!
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