Community Blog

How Friends Help you Age Well

By Ketan Patel

You have probably noticed that as time goes on, some people age better than others. While good genes play a part, inherited traits are only part of the story. The good news is that lifestyle changes can make a difference and many factors that influence aging are within our control. Studies indicate that healthy eating, restful sleep, refraining from smoking and regular exercise can make you look and feel younger. Now it turns out that having friends and maintaining a strong social network can also help you turn back the clock.

Scientists are finding that people with ties to close friends are more likely to live longer than those who don’t. Research shows that friends can have a positive effect on brain function and reduce stress. Friends can keep depression at bay, provide support and help you stay away from harmful lifestyle choices like smoking and drinking too much. If transportation is an issue, seniors can enlist the help of an in-home caregiver to transport them to social activities with friends.

  • Friends Prevent Cognitive Decline

Humans are inherently social, and keeping up established friendships and making new friends is an important way to prevent dementia from taking hold. Elderly seniors sometimes become more socially isolated as friends move or pass away and disabilities prevent them from engaging in the social activities they once enjoyed. But research shows that making time for friends is worth the effort. According to a study by Bryan James of the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, seniors who had frequent contact with friends had a whopping 70 percent lower rate of cognitive decline than individuals who had low social contact.

 

  • Friends Help you Recover from Illness

The support of friends can influence the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients. One study demonstrated that breast cancer survivors who joined a support group lived twice as long and experienced less pain than those who did not join a group. Other studies showed that women with ovarian cancer benefited from social support by producing lower levels of a protein that has been linked to aggressive cancers, and people who suffered a heart attack died sooner if they had fewer friends.

 

  • Friends Reduce Stress

Friendships can provide the companionship you need to cope with stress levels to help you age better. Individuals with strong social support tend to have lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, along with fewer immune and cardiovascular problems. Scientists have discovered that telomeres, the caps at the end of our DNA strands, play a role in aging. High stress levels accelerate the shortening of telomeres. However, it is important to choose friends you really enjoy spending time with and step away from the others, since some friendships can actually cause stress.

Hiring a Caregiver

An in-home caregiver can help your loved one with transportation to social activities and provide companionship. Home Helpers of South Shore is owned and operated by a compassionate health professional with a strong understanding of the needs of aging seniors. Contact Home Helpers to help your aging loved one.

Please fill out the form on the left and we will get in touch with you about setting up in-home health care, or call us at 781-585-1244 to determine the plan that is right for you.

We serve the following communities:

Abington , Braintree , Brockton , Buzzards Bay , Carver , Cohasset, Dighton , Duxbury , Falmouth , Halifax , Hanson , Hingham , Holbrook , Hull , Humarock , Kingston , Lakeville , Marshfield , Mashpee , Middleboro , Norwell , Pembroke , Plymouth , Plympton , Quincy , Randolph , Rockland , Sandwich , Scituate , Taunton , Wareham , Weymouth , Whitman