5 Benefits of Peer Friendships for Older Adults

5 Benefits of Peer Friendships for Older Adults

Being around people of all ages is good for you. But there’s just something about spending time with friends your own age that can make a day even more special. They know the name of Roy Rogers’ horse. They remember when gas was less than a dollar a gallon. And maybe best of all, they get the punchline of your jokes! Senior friendship can provide many comforts.

In addition to making you smile, having friends in your age group offers you an array of health and wellness benefits. It’s one of the many reasons why so many older adults enjoy senior living communities — there’s always a good friend nearby.

The magic of peer friendships for older adults

They make you laugh. They know how to listen. They understand what a journey aging can be, and yet they are the first ones to make you laugh about it:  your peers. And there are several reasons why they are good for you. Here are five:

Senior friendship with your peers:

1. Give you all the great benefits of socializing—and more.

Why are peer friendships for older adults just what the doctor ordered? Wellness, wellness, wellness! Lower blood pressure. Sharper memory. Decreased physical pain. An enhanced immune system. Not to mention feeling connected and valued, with less anxiety, depression, or stress.

It’s because not only is it good to spend time with people you enjoy, it’s even better when they’re on the same page with you. You don’t have to explain why your reading glasses are so handy. Or what life was like before email. They get it! And, they understand the challenges of aging but also know how to find the bright side. We dove into the benefits of living with your senior friends in another article.

2. Encourage your involvement in lifelong learning.

When living at home, it can be difficult to access continuing education or even get to a library regularly. You may spend a lot of time on your own. The result can be too much isolation, which can lead to cognitive decline. In a senior living community, you find others your own age who invite you to join them in classes, lectures, cooking demonstrations, book clubs, lively discussions, arts and crafts, and more. They share your interests and welcome your participation, which in turn motivates you to keep learning and growing. For older adults, peer friendships are a great way to stimulate cognitive function.

3. Give you an understanding shoulder to lean on.

Younger friends and family members can be great sources of comfort. But they don’t always fully understand what you are feeling because they have yet to experience similar life events. Talking to someone in the same stage of life can be much more soothing and helpful, especially in times of loss. Peer friends have experienced the ups and downs of life and can understand your perspective.

4. Give you a sense of purpose.

When you know you can be around others like you each day, you are more likely to get up in the morning with anticipation. Community living provides a world of opportunities and an inviting group of friends waiting for you each day right outside your door. What a great feeling! It’s especially true when these people are close to your age. You are more apt to take more pride in your appearance, tuck in that shirttail, and be ready to greet the day!

5. Senior friendship helps you stay healthy.

Peer friendships for older adults have a tremendous impact on wellness. When you’re dining with others your own age, you tend to make better choices and get the nutrition you need. You’re also more likely to be engaged in good conversation and enjoy your meals more, so you aren’t skipping meals or opting for an unhealthy snack instead. In addition, peers can motivate you to get health screenings, participate in fun exercise classes, or just join them for a walk every afternoon.

Good friends are waiting for you at Heritage Communities!

At Heritage Communities, we focus on Living Better —and that includes offering you all the benefits of being around great people. If you have questions about how to make the right choice for senior living, download our free guide, Family Decision Toolkit: How to choose the right senior living community, or contact us today. We are here to help you!