You Need Them And They Need You
A British retiree who lost his wife to cancer several years ago is addicted to using the phone daily.
Everyday he calls up a name from a well-researched list he maintains and surprises them by greeting him or her a “happy birthday.”
“This has been his habit ever since he retired,” a friend reveals, “and because of that he’s known as the Birthday Man in our community.”
The retiree is now 82 but is in the best of health and regularly get visitors – the ones listed in his birthday list, of course. We all need to have a good social life if we want to live well.
We simply cannot live our lives alone.
Aging successfully is like having a twin brother or sister –it’s best achieved with another person. Whether your social connections are with your husband or wife, your children, brothers or sisters, sports partners, and /or fellow churchgoers, they’re crucial to good health as you grow older.
Human analyst Joan Tucker says that being surrounded by loving, caring people in your life not only makes you feel loved and cared for, but also enhances your mental well-being.
At the same time, a spouse or close friend can also be there to help you out when you have a problem or when you need some company in attending some event, which can be beneficial to your physical health as well.
WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN ISOLATION? One of the more sordid facts about people who live by themselves is that many of them eventually become reclusive and die much earlier than expected.
And even if some of them get to live long lives, there’s still the lessening of mental and physical skills that can only be honed by mutual support, such as doing things together.
Isolate Yourself From Isolation
In 18th-century France, there was a young noblewoman who was so beautiful that her overprotective father decided to keep her perpetually chaste. He had her confined to a lonely countryside chateau, with instructions not to allow any visitors except those of whom he personally approved.
Ten years later, the lady’s father died and the woman emerged from the chateau still lovely and beautiful – and with children.
It was discovered that during her years of isolation, her sympathetic mother had her secretly married to her suitor, thus allowing them to live together while the trusted servants kept the secret from her father.
The father, in turn had become a recluse in his own home due to his over protectiveness, hastening his death. One seemed alone but was not lonely; another was in the company of others but had retreated to the shadows.
Loneliness can be detrimental to your health!
No one is certain exactly how a social network may help you stay healthy, but the evidence all points to the fact that being surrounded by family and friends with constant interaction is a real antidote to various age-related illnesses.
As such, people with social connections also may have stronger disease-fighting immune systems.
Not so long ago, a study revealed that men and women who live alone tend to eat less well, which could jeopardize their physical and mental well-being.
Studies made in the last fifteen years have confirmed the health promoting power of social interaction. At the UCLA School of Medicine, researchers evaluated senior citizens over a seven-year period.
It was discovered that those with strong social relationships remained more mentally alert with fewer instances of mental decline than people who were more isolated.
They noted that those people who did seemingly simple things like taking a walk with a friend or having a phone conversation with a relative already played a big part in keeping their health strong.
A 102 year old great grandmother in the Philippines was asked what kept her alive through the years despite living in a small village.
“I always looked forward to the card games I played with my neighbors,” she answered, “and I would always invite a neighbor to my house to keep me a company as I did the household chores.”
“IS IT GOOD TO HAVE A FEW CLOSE FRIENDS OR TO HAVE AS MANY FRIENDS AS POSSIBLE?” Both are good. There’s nothing wrong with maintaining a few close friends and still making friends along the way.
Remember, friendship has a “ripple” in a pond, your circle of friends expand and your support system grows at the same time.
STAY YOUNG WITH YOUNG PEOPLE
Go For The Young And The Really Restless!
How does it feel to be with somebody who might be ten years younger than you? There’s something really refreshing in being with somebody who’s younger than you.
It provides challenge, interaction, a good exchange of opinions, and, yes lots of laughter. Think of it as a vital human chemistry that makes the right reaction.
To stay young, keep the company of young people- and naturally, the best kind of young people are children, with their lively, bubbly personalities and fresh smiles.
The nice thing about children is that they always talk in present tense, never past tense. That’s because you know you have become old when you talk more about your past.
You can stay young and vibrant when you think about the present or start visualizing the future. Remember how children thin of their tomorrow? “When I grow up..”
Young people always have the future in mind. It’s a fact that for many old people, reminiscing about the lost days of childhood is always present remember the oft-repeated term “second childhood”? Spending quality time with young people not only makes you feel young and vibrant.
It also gives you a youthful mindset that can keep you mentally and physically strong.
How Many Friends Do You Want To Have?
The following story shows how vital friendship is in keeping ourselves healthy. In 1996, a woman named Grace Ann and her husband and children had immigrated to the United States from Ireland in search of a better life.
They had left behind all their security and support systems, and well into a year in their new home, had not yet established any vital contacts.
Then, the devastating news came:
Grace Ann had been diagnosed with cancer. However, after her diagnosis, Grace decided to seek support. Grace was assisted by a social agency by referring her to a local support group.
Grace attended the support group regularly every week and bonded instantly with other members as they did activities like taking walks, watching shows and dancing.
Many of them were actual cancer survivors who gave her the much needed strength and hope to carry on. Grace was grateful for their support, which helped her immensely through many months of therapy along with its serious implications.
“They were all so very kind,” Grace thinks of her friends, “They did so much for me, like provided me and my family with nourishing meals. It was as if I had known them all of my life.
They did wonderful and practical things that really meant so much to me and my family.” Her friends gave her the willpower to face the consequences of her diagnosis, allowing her a window to remission and recovery.
What are you planning to do for the next couple of weeks? If you plan to spend time with loved ones and making new friends, then you are helping yourself immensely in achieving a longer life.
Did you know that men who live alone had an 82% higher risk of dying from heart disease compared to men with large networks of social support.
Get your social network kicking by constantly expanding your circle of friends and doing things not alone but together. It’s more fun if you have company, good company!
You make a living with what you get, but you make a life with what you give. “Author Unknown”