The Benefits of Friendship for the Elderly

Your friendships can play an important role throughout your life, shaping your memories and many of your decisions. However, as you get older, they become increasingly important. By having close connections with others in your older years, you’ll be feeling less lonely and see significant benefits across your overall health.

Interested in understanding how friendships can benefit the elderly? Read on as we explore the importance of relationships and how your loved ones can continue to benefit from social interaction.

The benefits of friendship

One of the most prominent advantages that come from having friendships with others is that it dispels any feelings of loneliness a person may experience. As we grow older and enter retirement, many of us will have more time to spare that our families can’t always fill. As such, feelings of loneliness may begin to develop.

These lonely feelings can be harmful to our health, with research from Brigham Young University showing that experiencing isolation for an extended period can increase the likelihood of premature death.

Alongside this, loneliness can lead to negative emotional wellbeing, causing feelings of depression and anxiety. However, by developing close bonds with others, a person will begin to overcome those emotions, instead of feeling an increased sense of belonging as well as improved confidence and self-worth.

Relationships can play a crucial part in an individual’s ability to cope with any trauma they experience. For example, having someone available to talk through feelings and emotions can be vital in overcoming emotional trauma that comes with events such as divorce, death or illness.

Also, one of the most important benefits of friendship is that it can boost your cognitive ability. Social interactions and engaging with other people will stimulate the brain, working to exercise a range of cognitive functions.

Maintaining existing friendships

Older people may begin to find it harder to nurture existing friendships. This is because mobility and travel can become a challenge, as can communication.

However, it’s essential not to get too concerned about the number of friendships a person has. Many people benefit more from have closer connections with just a few individuals. Meanwhile, others may find being around others to be the most advantageous for them.

As such, you may want to look at how you can support your loved one in communicating with their friends or finding alternative scenarios where they can be surrounded by others.

Finding new friends

If your loved one does begin to feel lonely, it can be simple to find them social scenarios to engage with.

You could encourage your loved one to broaden their horizons by attending community groups or clubs that may share the same interests as them. These are easy to find as they’re often listed in newspapers or on notice boards.

For those who find it hard to get out and about, there are plenty of befriending services available too. For example, through Age UK, your loved one could access face-to-face befriending services, or benefit from regular telephone friendship calls.

Alternatively, the time may have come to explore other options that offer additional care and support, such as moving into a care home. Many nursing homes support individuals in living healthily and independently while providing them with the chance to meet others.

Based in Buxton, we provide specialist nursing care for a range of need, creating a safe and supportive environment in which individuals can form close friendships.

If you’re interested in hearing more about Portland Nursing Home, our team would be happy to talk to you. Contact us on 01298 23040 or email info@portlandnursinghome.co.uk

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