Friendship: A Connection that Lasts a Lifetime
In honor of National Friendship Day, which falls on Sunday, August 7th this year, we celebrate the friendships that enhance the lives of seniors everywhere.
The intimacy of a relationship with a good friend is wonderful enough to bring pleasure to people of all ages. Seniors who maintain close friendships, however, enjoy a world of benefits to their health, happiness and overall well-being.
“For seniors the health benefits of friendships are invaluable,” says Jewish Home Chief Medical Officer Dr. Noah Marco. “When aging adults maintain strong social connections they tend to get more mental and physical stimulation— both are essential for healthy aging. Other physical benefits include lower blood pressure, a boosted immune system, and reduced risk of depression, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s disease.”
The Jewish Home's Eisenberg Village residential care social worker Thelma Mata says, “Friendships can improve one’s attitude, behavior, and outlook on life. This type of special connection can also help seniors prevent isolation and depression.”
Seniors in residential care at the Eisenberg Village campus have endless opportunities to gather, interact, and engage with others. Throughout the campus’ living spaces, they can be seen in pairs and groups, enjoying each other’s company.
From enjoying a delicious meal in the dining room to playing an exciting game of Bingo, joining the Book Club to attending a Shabbat service, making jewelry in Arts and Crafts to volunteering in the post office— every moment is a chance to find and foster friendship.
“The Home is the perfect environment for seniors to stay socially engaged,” says residential care activities aide Anna Kocis. “With so many programs, activities and events for our residents to take part in, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Once seniors start becoming active in the community, they realize they share common experiences and interests and begin to form lasting friendships. These relationships form the basis of a life-enhancing experience.”
Jewish Home residents Grace Peshkin and Myrtle Feenberg are a perfect example of this. When Grace and Myrtle first moved to Eisenberg Village seven years ago, they knew they were meant to become good friends. “I remember it all so clearly,” says Myrtle. “We moved in around the same time and Grace was one of the first people I ever spoke to.”
“From the very beginning we started spending a lot of time together,” Grace recalls. “It all started when we realized we had so much in common. We both love shopping, sharing, and conversation.”
“It’s been wonderful! We confide in each other, and give one another advice. Sometimes our opinions differ and we argue, but we’re still friends,” says Myrtle. “It’s funny, we’re just like sisters!”
This National Friendship Day, remember the importance of senior friendships. Make the decision to foster the strong, long-lasting relationships that lead to a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.