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Carillon Senior Living Blog

Friendship: It’s good for your health

 |  Carillon Awareness, Senior Living

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.”

— Woodrow Wilson

The holidays are here—family and friends take center stage—and rightfully so. As President Wilson so simply put it, they are the cement in our lives. In addition, experts say that social interaction and friendships are also important for personal health and well-being. So, what are the benefits of keeping the bonds of friendship going year-round? Let’s explore the idea and see what the experts say.

Being social and spending time with others:

  1. It helps you cope with stress. Studies have shown that socializing is a great stress buffer—talking through problems and concerns rather than seeking more negative coping mechanisms such as drinking alcohol or smoking. Sheldon Cohen, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, supports this stress-coping premise. He says, “Friends encourage you to take better care of yourself. People with wider social networks have higher self-esteem—they feel they have more control over their lives.”
  2. May lengthen your life. The American Society on Aging notes that older adults with larger social networks have better cognitive function and experience less wear and tear on the body and brain during times of stress.
  3. It improves psychological well-being. Studies have proven that people who have supportive friends and families have a greater sense of meaning in life and a stronger sense of purpose.
  4. It’s good for your cardiovascular health. Stress can actually inflame your arteries, thereby promoting atherosclerosis or clogged arteries. But studies have shown, if you discuss difficult times with a friend, this social exchange could actually lower both your pulse and blood pressure. “People with social support have fewer cardiovascular problems and immune problems, and lower levels of cortisol—a stress hormone,” says Margaret Gibbs, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

“We are social animals, and we have evolved to be in groups,” says Tasha R. Howe, Ph.D.,  professor of psychology at Humboldt State University. “We have always needed others for our survival. It’s in our genes. People with a big social group tend to be more at peace, which leads to better health,” Howe says.

Companionship. Without it, loneliness sets in and begins to impact the way we feel—emotionally and physically. In their 2019 report, The National Institute on Aging linked loneliness to increase the risk for a number of other physical and mental conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s disease.

As you can see, the health benefits of friendship and socialization are undeniable. And, as we grow older, the opportunities for companionship change—neighbors move away, friends pass away, or you simply lose contact with former buddies. It may be time to boost your social network by:

  • Pursuing a new interest. Community lifelong learning courses are increasingly popular and often available through local colleges. Sign up—meet others with similar interests.
  • Volunteering. Local hospitals, churches, museums and theatre groups are always looking for help. Offer your time and talent and connect with others.
  • Attending community events. Groups, clubs and civic events—everything from musical events to town hall meetings—offer great opportunities for socialization.
  • Taking a fitness class. If you’re focused on staying active and healthy, numerous seniors share your goals and enjoy everything from yoga to water aerobics to dancing.
  • Extending and accepting invitations. Coffee? Lunch? Make plans to have someone join you—and always return the invitation.

It’s easy to meet new friends and get involved at Carillon. A diverse monthly activities calendar is filled with opportunities to meet new friends during events inside and outside of the community. Health and fitness classes, water aerobics, lecture series, musical concerts, art studio and woodshop classes, golf and excursions to nearby Texas Tech athletics are scheduled—and well-attended—throughout the year.

Residents find that even day-to-day routines provide many opportunities to get to know neighbors and share conversations over meals. Let Carillon residents tell you all about the services and amenities, the rewarding lifestyle and the friendships they enjoy in this video.

Find out more about all the friendly residents at the Carillon. Call (806) 281-6106 or complete the following contact form.