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At Grace Pointe Living we believe that social connection and friendships are key to a healthy and happy retirement. Keeping family close and sharing quality time together is just as important as spending time with your friends. Grace Pointe Living provides the clubhouse, amenities and social activities for friendship connections, but it’s up to the kids to start making an effort to schedule time with their aging parents and let them know they are loved and cared for as they move through their retirement years.
Don’t avoid making that phone call and touching base with your aging parents! Better yet, schedule some time in your busy life and get together for dinner and some conversation.
Many of us grow up without really ‘growing up’. We might be nurturing some issue with our childhood or how we were raised. It’s not important in the big picture of things. The big picture is that family is important, forgiveness is necessary and there is no real excuse for not spending time and nurturing your aging parents. After all, who raised and nurtured you?
Recent studies have proved that not providing your aging parents with quality time with you, social interaction and appreciation for all they have done, can significantly affect their physical and mental health. Getting old is not always the pleasurable experience many imagine, as being retired can be great for the more free time available, but more free ALONE time is not good for anyone. That includes your parents.
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What did this study find out about these negative effects on physical and emotional health?
The study concluded that loneliness is a significant factor in the decline of quality of life in older adults, including the risk of depression, cognitive impairment and health problems like coronary artery disease, and may even lead to an earlier death.
Specifically, the study looked at 1,600 adults with an average age of 71. Researchers found that 23 percent of participants who reported being lonely died within six years of the study, while only 14 percent of those who reported having companionship died during the same six-year period.
“Our social relationships are important not only to our quality of life but also our longevity,” said study author Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, to WebMD.
“Throughout human history, we have relied on others for survival such as protection and food, and despite modern advancements that may [help with] certain aspects of survival so that we can live more independently, it appears that our relationships nonetheless still impact odds of survival,” she says.
One great benefit of spending time with others, particularly your parents is the benefit of laughter. You rarely will have a good laugh sitting in front of a computer screen, watching the negative news on television or living at your work desk. Remember that Laughing is a powerful antidote to declining health, having been shown to boost immunity, lower blood pressure and stimulate both blood flow and mental activity.
So let’s all agree and make an effort to fix this issue of Senior loneliness!
Spending time with your parents benefits you, too. The wisdom passed down through generations can be invaluable, and no one quite understands you as mom and dad.