Every February, cards, flowers and gifts are exchanged between couples and loved ones. If you’re not in a romantic relationship, or have recently lost a spouse, Valentine’s Day can instead be a celebration of the significance of companionship. Whether it is a close friendship or an intimate relationship, social interaction is needed to prevent health decline in seniors. According to a University of California, San Francisco study, loneliness is a risk factor for functional decline in adults over the age of 60. It’s amazing how something as simple as a friendship can enhance aging hearts and strengthen the immune system.
The benefits of companionship are particularly revealed when the relationship between the provider and recipient support social well-being. Seniors can benefit from friendships that reinforce social activities which happen naturally due to common interests. Some characteristics of these friendships are: self-disclosure, sociability, day-to-day assistance, shared activities, loyalty, trust, and similar interests. As humans, we require friendships because it has numerous health benefits for the mind, body, and spirit.
Good friendships also decrease the physical risk of disease by diminishing blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol. In addition, the psychological benefits of companionship include: increased self-esteem, decreased stress, and a sense of belonging. Friendship provides you with a solid support system which promotes a sense of inspiration and fosters emotional and physical support.
By the same token, older adults can benefit from having a pet. In particular, dogs are great for seniors and can open them up to new activities and interests. Also known as mankind’s longest-standing animal companions, are known to provide emotional support and act as human replacements for people living alone. Taking care of a pet can fulfill the want to be needed and the desire to be useful or valued. According to the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, elderly people who welcome these furry companions into their lives can see a decrease in loneliness. All things considered, a pet’s ability to be non-judgmental, help us feel needed, and offer unconditional love and trust can have major effects on your health.
Our Community Relations Counselor, Patty Till, explained that, “At Poet’s Walk, we provide a warm, welcoming and well-supervised environment. Our experienced staff members pair residents with caregivers that share in their interests, cultural values, and beliefs. This allows for the mind, body, and spirit of our residents to be enhanced through their relationship with their caregiver.”
At Poet’s Walk, a Spring Hills Memory Care Community, we offer recreational activities that are designed to encompass the intellectual, physical, and social well being of each visitor. Members can engage their senses for a better mind, body, and spirit. Some of our programs for personal development include: pet therapy, writing courses, dance and fitness. At Poet’s Walk, we make every effort to enhance the life of the people we serve. For more information visit the Memory Care page.