We all know that eating well and getting regular exercise is good for our overall health. However, one often overlooked aspect of our emotional and physical well-being is the importance of friendships. These social connections are essential to maintaining both mental and emotional well-being.
With age, friendships become even more important, yet opportunities for connection may also feel more limited at this stage of life. See why these relationships are so important to your health, and how community living can help you grow your social circle.
How Friendships Impact Health and Well-Being
Why are friendships later in life so important? There are numerous reasons for this, from reducing isolation and offsetting stress to boosting self-esteem. Over time, these health benefits add up. Let’s explore these positive effects in closer detail.
Loneliness and social isolation among older adults is an increasingly worrying trend. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that social isolation is associated with a 50% increased risk of dementia and other serious medical conditions.
Strong friendships give you someone to share your successes and concerns with. Good friends are genuinely happy about your accomplishments and engaged with your life, as you are with theirs. This may be why having someone close to you to rely on can boost your self-esteem.
While it’s important to have friends who build you up in the good times, it’s also critical to have their support during difficult periods. Having friends you can count on can help relieve the burden of your stress. Even something as simple as a hug from a close friend has been shown to reduce negative emotions.
Creating a Sense of Belonging
It’s human nature to want to find a place to belong. We seek it out in everything from church groups to sports teams. A close group of friends functions in much the same way. When you’re together you feel comfortable and included. You don’t have to worry about making an impression and can focus on enjoying one other’s company. Experiencing this sense of belonging has been shown to strengthen emotional health and decrease feelings of depression and hopelessness.
Protecting Brain Health
Staying active and engaged is critical to maintaining and even improving brain health. While there are many ways to do this – from brain training apps to reading or even learning a new language – friendships play a surprisingly important role. According to recent studies, as we get older, friends have a bigger impact on health and well-being than family. Valuing friendships has also been shown to lead to better brain function, as well as high levels of cognitive resilience that may protect against diseases such as dementia.
How Community Living Helps Build Relationships
For many older adults, living in a retirement community like Beacon Hill offers enticing benefits like predictable expenses, a maintenance-free lifestyle and the opportunity to connect with like-minded adults. In fact, community living provides numerous opportunities to make connections with others who share your interests.
Communities for older adults, like Beacon Hill, give residents a neighborhood living experience where the possibility of making new social connections is just steps away from their front door. This close proximity with others at a similar stage in life makes it easy to gather with friends or new acquaintances for an impromptu movie night or meet up for a meal and cocktail at any one of the community’s dining venues.
Retirement is all about having time to pursue your passions, and the team at Beacon Hill is dedicated to supporting every resident in living the lifestyle they’ve always wanted. With activities and entertainment ranging from nearby nightlife and culture in Chicago to community amenities such as flower gardens and a fitness center, there are many opportunities to connect with others.
Discover Life at Beacon Hill
Life at Beacon Hill is directed, determined and defined by you. Our senior living community in Lombard, IL gives residents the opportunity to experience a healthy, active and engaged life in a neighborhood they love.
Discover more about Beacon Hill or schedule a tour to see for yourself what a connected, upscale and vibrant retirement could be like.