Page 4 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - March 2020 - 27-03
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Page 4
Senior Times - March 2020
When Friends
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 1150 E. Michigan Avenue, Battle Creek, MI 49014 (269) 962-5458
   Become Family
By: Glin Winsor, Day One
More people are focusing on friend- ships later in life – and research reveals the many health benefits this offers.
son’s health and happiness – more so than one’s own family relationships. Moreover, have a strained relationship with a friend was linked to higher reports of chronic illness such as diabe- tes and arthritis.
Famed author and advertising exec- utive Loise Wyse once said, “A good friend is a connection to life – a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world.”
In fact, having strong friendships later in life can even reduce one’s
risk of early death. In an analysis of 148 studies with a total of more than 300,000 individuals, researchers found those with strong social ties had 50% higher chance of survival – putting a lack of relationships on par with smok- ing and obesity.
Indeed, many a person has survived adolescence, buoyed by the support of a friend. While adults often shift focus to family as they begin to raise their own, people are starting to prioritize pals once again later in life.
Why the social shift? “Often kids are focused on their own jobs and family,” says David J. Puder, M.D. medical director of the MEND partial and inten- sive outpatient program at the Loma Lina University Behavioral Medical Center. He also cites causes for the shift back to the needed support of friends such as divorce, adult children moving away, and the death of a spouse. An older parent or loved one is another common reason people pivot back to friendships.
How Friends Keep Us Healthy
Friends: The Secret to Aging Well?
2) Friends kelp us maintain healthy habits. Whether it’s losing weight, cooking healthier, or kicking bad habits, friends can offer a powerful dose of support, encouragement, and accountability. They can also boost your self-esteem and sense of con- trol.
A good friend, as we know, can offer many gifts: laughter, encouragement, wisdom, and support. But the impact of friendship extends to the health of our body and mind, too – particularly as we age.
3) Friends keep our brains busy. “Social connectedness is good for mental health and cognitive func- tion,” says Punder. Indeed, multiple studies have linked social activity with better brain health and func- tioning.
“Having a few close friends is pos- itively associated with higher self-es- teem, less substance use/abuse and a reduced rate of depression and anxi- ety.” Says Courtney Bolton Ph.D., a Nashville-based psychologist who spe- cializes in friendship skill development. Friends may boost physical health too. According to a pair of 2017 studies published in Personal Relationships, placing high value on friendships
1) Friends can buffer the blow of stressful events. Divorcee, choric illness, caring for a spouse or parent – life’s stressors can certainly pile on as we age. While stress can ram up your risk of arthritis, heat disease, and other chronic ailments, friends can help weather the storm and steer you toward healthier coping strate- gies (ex. swimming vs. smoking).
Find fun ways to stay connected and engaged, whether it’s weekly phone chats, a round of golf, or brunch dates. Friendships are important to your health and healthy aging.
Pets Help Combat
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   later in life strongly predicted a per-
   Social Isolation
Research concludes that pet owner- ship has can be linked to several ben- efits for seniors from health to happi- ness. Older adults who spend time with companion animals will tell you that they experience a better quality of life; research supports their claim.
• 75% - Makes me feel loved
• 63% - Gives me a sense of purpose • 61% - Gives me someone to talk to
Research presented by Home Instead, Inc. found that seniors who live alone are more likely to report increased benefits of pet ownership: • 83% - Unconditional love
Just as important as pet ownership, pet interaction can have a positive impact as well. Seniors can interact with pets at the home of friends and family, as well as pet parks and other locations outside.
A word of caution: be sure to ask permission before reaching out to a pet that is not your own.
   900 Territorial Road W, Battle Creek, Michigan 49015 Call 269-968-0300 or
An apartment community for seniors 55 and older (Between Capital Avenue and 20th Street)
py St. Patrick’s Day!
Valentines Day!

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