Friendship is precious. Sharing moments of joy and laughter with our good friends is a priceless gift. A friend is someone you choose to include in your life and can count on in times of need. A relationship based on trust and exchange.

What we don't know as much is how beneficial friends are to our health, so much that they contribute to longevity. Let's discover why it is so important for seniors to cultivate friendship.

 

The older we grow, the more essential friendship is

A study conducted by Harvard University over a period of 75 years revealed the importance of leading a life rich in human relationships. 268 men from diverse, even opposing, social backgrounds were selected, with an average age of 19. The conclusion is irrefutable. People who had a social circle full of harmonious relationships, whether family or friends, lived happier and healthier lives. And when we talk about health, we are talking about physical, psychological, and cognitive health. For example, it has a positive impact on memory.

Another research has also concluded, based on the results of two studies, that the older we get, the more important friendship becomes, sometimes taking precedence over family relationships when they are scarce. Surrounding oneself with a few close friends is therefore essential to happiness and well-being.

 

Friendship is good for psychological health

Family relationships are essential. However, with friends, we can talk about personal matters. We recognize ourselves in our friends because they are going through the same things we are, facing the same challenges and issues.

That is why a circle of close and friendly relationships is crucial in everyone's life, especially for seniors. Friendship reduces anxiety and depression, supports us during difficult times, and makes our daily lives meaningful.

 

The benefits of friendship on physical health

Maintaining friendly relationships helps reduce inflammation in the body. What a significant benefit when you consider that inflammation can lead to heart disease and Alzheimer's! But that's not all. Having friends helps reduce blood pressure, improves sleep and increases life expectancy.

There is no need to be surrounded by a multitude of people. Confiding in each other, sharing moments of complicity, laughing, and relaxing with one or two people who understand us is a source of great joy, which is beneficial to our health.

 

How to cultivate friendship or make new friends

For seniors, loneliness is very harmful. Breaking the isolation is a necessity to age in well-being and serenity. But then, how to maintain friendships or making new ones?

  • Volunteering
    Why not offer your time, professional experience, or simply your interests and knowledge to an organization by volunteering? By choosing the activity that suits you best, you will meet other people who share what you like most.

  • Join a book club
    You like to read and want to share your thoughts and feelings? A book club is ideal! You meet regularly with a group of readers to discuss the book you have read. It's the perfect opportunity to meet other literature enthusiasts.

  • Make the digital world your own
    Though videoconferencing is not a substitute for physical presence, it is a wonderful tool for keeping in touch with friends if they live far away. There are courses for seniors, especially in community organizations. Note that on the YouTube channel of Sélection Retraite, our spokesperson Michel Forget presents techno capsules that will allow you to quickly master the technological tools.

  • Stay active
    Join a sports class. Many physical activities are particularly beneficial for seniors, including yoga, Tai Chi, water aerobics, and walking. You will not only maintain your body's health by keeping your muscles toned and your bones strong. You will also improve your well-being. Best of all, by participating in an organized exercise program regularly, you'll meet new people.

 

Friends are often like family members, a family that we choose. Science has shown that friendship makes us happier, extends the life span, and keeps us in good physical and psychological health. Let's cultivate this value throughout our lives, especially as we age!

 

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Sources (mostly in French):

https://www.sunlife.ca/fr/tools-and-resources/health-and-wellness/mental-wellness/les-bienfaits-de-lamitie-sur-la-sante/

https://institut.amelis-services.com/bien-vieillir/vie-sociale-fetes/lien-social-et-esperance-de-vie/

https://institut.amelis-services.com/bien-vieillir/vie-sociale-fetes/amitie-lien-social-chez-les-seniors/#:~:text=Pl%C3%A9biscit%C3%A9e%20dans%20les%20enqu%C3%AAtes%20d,lien%20social%20chez%20les%20seniors

https://madame.lefigaro.fr/bien-etre/la-recette-du-bonheur-220116-111951

https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1038364/amitie-famille-importance-vieillissement

https://www.concordia.ca/ucactualites/central/communiques-de-presse/2012/09/20/la-personnalite-a-lage-adulte-predite-par-les-pairs-ecoliers.html

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