Madeleine Taplin

There is no denying that having a few good friends – or many – has always been golden. As we age, those friendships may become even more important. Friendships aren’t just about the social glue and glitz of life. A good friendship can dispel loneliness, improve your health, boost your sense of wellbeing and even add to your years! Now more than ever, it is incredibly important to ensure that as we age, we surround ourselves with positivity and those individuals that make us feel happy and warm inside.

Loneliness stemming from having too few friends doesn’t just lead to a spiralling state of depression –it can potentially shorten one’s lifespan. For individuals over the age of 60, research has shown that individuals with feelings of loneliness and isolation are nearly one and a half times more likely to pass away than those that are happy and fulfilled in life. Additionally, people who are lonely are also less likely to be able to do simple daily tasks such as walking, dressing and showering. By simply volunteering in your local community and forming friendships, we open ourselves up to a life that is far greater, brighter and more fulfilled than would be otherwise.

Regardless of how many friends you have, social interaction doesn’t just dispel loneliness and boost happiness. It can also keep your thinking and cognitive skills sharp. Those individuals who are socially isolated, and thus not mentally stimulated, are the individuals who tend to have lower cognitive ability in older age. Furthermore, friends will always be beside you, no matter what you are going through. Whether it’s a health crisis, or simply a bad day, your friends have the ability to cheer you up and pull you into a better mindset. It is clear that maintaining and making friendships has undeniable benefits, particularly as we age. Surround yourselves with positivity and enjoy life to its fullest.