Your friendships will have been an important aspect of your life as those bonds with others meant you formed incredible memories and discovered new things.
However, as we all get older, those connections we have with others can become increasingly important. By having tight-knit bonds with others in your older years, you’ll be opening yourself up to not just better mental wellbeing but improved overall health.
Read on as we explore how friendship can benefit older people and how to increase your loved one’s opportunities for socialising.
The importance of friendship
Having friendships with others can be very beneficial as they reduce any feelings of loneliness or isolation that a person may experience. As we age and start our retirement, we will all find ourselves with more time on our hands that our families may not always be able to fill, leaving people feeling a sense of loneliness.
Feeling isolated can impact our health according to research from Brigham Young University. They have found that experiencing loneliness for long periods can increase the likelihood of premature death.
Loneliness can also damage a person’s emotional wellbeing, leading to disorders such as depression and anxiety. However, forming close bonds with others can negate this, helping a person to overcome negative feelings by creating a sense of belonging and purpose, alongside increased self-confidence.
Friendships can also play an essential role in how an individual can cope with traumatic events. This could be events such as divorce, the death of a loved one or severe illness. Having someone to talk to and lean on in times of need can be vital in overcoming those emotions of grief.
In addition to this, another important benefit of having bonds with others is that it can boost cognitive wellbeing. This is key for those experiencing dementia. By socially interacting with others and having conversations, the brain will become stimulated, exercising a range of cognitive functions.
Elderly people may begin to find it harder to preserve their ongoing friendships as when they get older communication and mobility may become harder, especially for those experiencing symptoms of dementia.
However, it’s important not to worry about the number of friends a person has as that’s not what necessarily matters. Instead, having a few close bonds with others will deliver the most significant benefits. Meanwhile, others may find more comfort in being able to surround themselves with others.
As such, it’s important to offer your support to your loved ones should they need a helping hand in communicating with others and making connections.
Expanding your friends
If your loved one has begun to feel isolated and lonely, it may be time to help them in finding new social situations.
You could first take explore opportunities to meet new people locally through community groups or day centres who offer activities that match your loved one’s interests. These are often listed in local newspapers or on community noticeboards.
If your loved one is finding it hard to get out and about, there are plenty of befriending services available. Age UK offers a range of services, including face-to-face befriending services and telephone friendship calls for the elderly.
It may also be the time to explore other options, such as moving into a residential care home. Many homes offer a range of support that enables individuals to retain an independent and healthy lifestyle while providing a great environment in which they can make new friends.
Based in Colchester, Essex, we provide a range of specialist support, including dementia care, creating a safe environment for individuals to meet new people and form fantastic connections.
If you’re interested in hearing more about Crouched Friars Residential Home, our team would be happy to talk to you. Contact us on 01206 572647 or email firstname.lastname@example.org