When most of us talk about health and well-being, we discuss the importance of making healthier food choices and getting in regular physical activity. We may not immediately think of the impact developing and maintaining friendships can have on our physical and mental health.
Yet, according to the Mayo Clinic, “Adults with strong social connections have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI)” and “older adults who have meaningful relationships and social support are more likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.”
Discover more about how friendships can impact your well-being, especially for those preparing for retirement. Also, learn how life at a retirement community can help foster new connections.
How Friendships Impact Our Health and Well-Being
Making and maintaining friendships can become more difficult as we age. Too often, in the years leading up to retirement, we don’t think enough about the value of those friendships and work to actively maintain them. This often leads to a slow decline in the number of people we count among our closest circle.
Yet, friendships bring with them many health benefits, which becomes increasingly important in our later years. Some of the benefits of close friendships at any stage of life include:
- Increased sense of belonging and purpose.
- Boosted happiness and reduced stress levels.
- Improved self-confidence and self-worth.
- Heightened ability to bounce back from life’s challenges.
A small network of close friends can also encourage us to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as drinking or smoking, and even motivate us to exercise more regularly.
Why Friendships are Especially Important Later in Life
A recent study in The Journals of Gerontology reveals how everyday contact with friends can lead to higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction. The study asked participants to report their encounters with social partners and then answer a few questions about their mood after each encounter.
Ultimately the study found that “Compared with contact with romantic partners or family members throughout the day…contact with friends played a much stronger role in enhancing daily emotional well-being in older adults.” This shows older adults who find themselves unmarried, widowed or divorced can potentially benefit even more from friendships.
While we have evidence that friendships later in life are important, making and developing new friendships as an older adult can be challenging. One way to promote new connections is to choose to live in a community that offers opportunities for you to meet like-minded people.
How Community Living Helps Build Relationships
As we age, living in a large residential home can be isolating. Like many senior living communities, Friendship Village of Bloomington offers on-site, community-based activities and experiences to help residents engage socially. In addition, elegant dining opportunities and shared amenities such as fitness centers can offer additional opportunities to meet others.
- On-site activities help you meet new people. Most retirement communities provide on-site activities for residents. For instance, Friendship Village of Bloomington gives residents access to a billiards area, library, woodworking shop, art studio and more. These spaces allow residents to pursue their favorite hobbies with others.
- Communal dining creates social opportunities. What better way to make new connections than to exchange stories over a memorable meal? Friendship Village of Bloomington offers a daily, restaurant-style dining experience in two venues. In addition, all of our independent living floor plans include a kitchen for those who want to entertain in their residence.
- Find a workout buddy and forge a new friendship. Most senior living communities include access to some sort of fitness facilities. Friendship Village of Bloomington offers a fitness center, indoor pool and golf simulator among its wellness offerings for residents. Forming a new fitness routine is an ideal way to meet people with similar health goals.
Explore New Opportunities at Friendship Village
If you’re looking to jumpstart your social life and meet new people, or you know someone who could benefit from the social aspects of community living, come and visit us at Friendship Village of Bloomington. Contact us to get started.