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January 4th, 2012
Is Maintaining Friendships More Important than Family?

Is Maintaining Friendships More Important than Family?

When it comes to longevity of life, keeping friends close is more important than family.  People with many friends live longer than those with fewer friends and social interactions.  While having good friends makes our lives richer and longer, the same isn’t true for family.

In a 10-year study of people aged 70 and older, researchers at the Centre for Ageing Studies (Flinders University,Australia), found that maintaining a network of close friends is more likely than good family relationships to increase longevity in older adults.

People with extensive networks of friends, confidantes and companions outlived those with the fewest friends by 22 percent, a remarkable difference.  Also, the positive effects of friendships continued throughout the decade-long study, despite profound life changes such as death of a spouse.

While friendships may be a marker for longevity, it’s not to discredit the important role of family to older adults.  It’s simply that this study found that family has little effect on survival and longevity.

Why is friendship so important to longevity?

During our lives friends come and go with hopefully a few close ones that we can rely on in times of need.  Having someone to turn to when times get tough, to lend a sympathetic ear, can be a distinct advantage over those with no one else to talk too.  Friends offer coping mechanisms, support and advice, as well as having positive effects on mood and self-esteem.

At Premier Homecare Services, our professional caregivers provide companionship and can assist your aging loved one with mobility issues to safely get out and meet with friends.  If you would like more information to help your loved ones to remain more independent, healthy and happy, please contact a local office.

RELATED POSTS & RESOURCES:
How and Why You Should Maintain Friendships – Article by Elizabeth Scott, M.S.
Getting the Most from your Homecare Agency – Premier Homecare Services Blog
The Australian Longitudinal Study of Ageing – Centre for Ageing Studies, Flinders University

 

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