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Health & Wellness, Independent Living

How Friendships Later in Life Impact Our Well-Being

Even if you don’t engage with your friends every day, they still play a huge role in shaping your emotional and physical well-being. In recent years, there have been numerous studies showing a positive correlation between older adults’ health and their friendships. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) recently shared that friends rather than family play a more positive impact on individuals as they get older.

Older adults seeking new social connections and experiences are often drawn to senior living communities like Querencia, where they can easily interact with like-minded peers. 

Why are Friendships Later In Life Important?

Friendships in later stages of life give us a sense of belonging, can encourage us to stay active and engaged, and may also foster a sense of purpose.

Friendship Strengthens Your Emotional Well-Being

According to Psychology Today, emotional well-being is the ability to practice stress-management and relaxation techniques, be resilient, boost self-love and generate the emotions that lead to good feelings. Friends are your cheerleaders. 

Friendships are even more beneficial than close ties with romantic partners and family. The Mather Institute shared data from a study that reported 65-year-old participants scored the pleasantness they experienced after social encounters with a friend, romantic partner and family member. The time spent with friends showed higher results of positive emotional well-being. 

Friendship Encourages You to Stay Active 

Staying active is vital to preventing or mitigating the risk of serious health issues. But it can be hard to stay active on your own. When you exercise with a friend, you may be more motivated to achieve your fitness goals together.  

Friendship Gives You A Sense Of Purpose 

Some may feel a lost sense of purpose after their adult children move away, or when they enter retirement. One way to renew this sense of purpose is by forming a close friendship with others. Becoming someone that your friends can rely on for trusted advice and sympathy boosts self-esteem and can rekindle a sense of being valued. 

How Friendships Impact Our Health and Well-Being

Speaking with friends activates our listening skills, an important cognitive function that engages the brain and improves brain health. Socializing with friends may also lessen one’s chances of experiencing serious health issues later in life.  Here’s why.

Improve Your Cognitive Skills  

Having meaningful conversations not only prevents high levels of stress, but also improves brain health. According to neurology professor Joel Salinas, “People with good listeners in their lives are more likely to have a brain that sustains its ‘raw horsepower’ over time.” This can also help protect the brain against diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

In the study, Professor Salinas and his team analyzed data from participants who were an average of 63 years old. Respondents who confirmed having a trusted confidant had a reduced risk of dementia, stroke and other neurological conditions. 

Lower Your of Risk Of Long-Term Health Problems 

Our emotions have a physical effect on our bodies. For example, when we experience loneliness, we may become anxious and depressed. These feelings can lead to inflammation within the body, which is linked to serious long-term health issues such as heart disease, arthritis, stroke and Alzheimer’s. Having strong social connections can reduce feelings of stress and loneliness, thus lowering the risk of experiencing these issues.

Community Living Helps Build Relationships

Although some older adults choose to age in place, the benefits of community living are far more socially enriching. At Querencia, residents can live independently as part of a rich and welcoming community. In this environment, it’s easy to connect with others and cultivate new relationships during community-hosted events and activities. 

Greet each morning eager to take on the day, whether that’s enjoying a brisk hike through our exceptionally manicured, 38-acre campus with a neighbor or participating in one of our many activities or events. Residents also often entertain friends and family in their spacious apartments, which offer unparalleled views of Texas Hill Country. 

Come and see what a sophisticated, connected retirement can be like. Contact us to learn more and schedule a tour.  


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