Sunflower FieldCommunity Connections

Connections Promote Well-Being

seniors relaxing Strong, healthy relationships are important throughout your life. Your social ties with family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and others impact your mental, emotional, and even physical well-being. “We can’t underestimate the power of a relationship in helping to promote well-being,” says NIH psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Valerie Maholmes. Studies have found that having a variety of social relationships may help reduce stress and heart-related risks.

lonely manStrong social ties are even linked to a longer life. On the other hand, loneliness and social isolation are linked to poorer health, depression, and increased risk of early death. 

A Better Life

The top concern people express as they enter their later years isn't money worries or physical problems, but a sense of meaning and purpose in life. For many people, a fulfilling life -- or a "better life" -- is one in which they feel they've made a contribution, no matter how small or big that may be. Yes, optimal aging includes good health, but it also encompasses love, companionship, creativity, productivity, concern for others, learning and a hopeful outlook. (Healthy Aging, p. 18)

Optimists Live Longer

Increasing evidence suggests that being an optimist or a pessimist has an effect on your health. In one Dutch study, highly optimistic participants were 77 percent less likely to die of a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular event than were highly pessimistic participants.

A study conducted at Mayo Clinic examined the relationship between how individuals explained the causes of life's events and the group mortality rate during a 30-year period. The researchers found that individuals who had a more pessimistic view of the causes of life events died younger than those who were more optimistic. 
(Healthy Aging, pp 114-117)


Dick Van Dyke 93, Carl Reiner 97, Mel Brooks 92, Norman Lear 96

Health Benefits of Friendship

More than a dozen studies link social support with a lower risk of early death.  One study of 7,000 Californians found that those lacking social connections were two to three times as likely to die younger as were their more socially connected counterparts.

It's clear that stress can suppress immunity. Love and friendship help to reduce stress. Having people to talk with when difficult times come along provides a psyschological buffer against stress, anxiety, and depression.  (Healthy Aging, pp 119-120)

Married couples tend to live longer and have better heart health than unmarried couples. Studies have found that when one spouse improves his or her health behaviors—such as by exercising, drinking or smoking less, or getting a flu shot—the other spouse is likely to do so, too.

Other types of relationships are important, too. These can include friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, clubs, and religious groups. Studies have found that people who have larger and more diverse types of social ties tend to live longer. They also tend to have better physical and mental health than people with fewer such relationships. Social support may be especially protective during difficult times.

More Blessed to Give Than Receive

Think about it! If you are lonely and feeling the need for companionship, the chances are very strong there are a lot of others who are in need of someone to talk to as well. What if you took the initiative and called someone you would enjoy talking with? Just a friendly call, 'To see how you are doing,' might open the door to a mutually helpful relationship.

What if they don't respond? Rather than feel offended that your call failed to be the beginning of an ongoing conversation, simply make a call to someone else who might need a friend. Keep in mind that if your call is motivated primarily by self-interest, it might give the other person the feeling that y0u are not genuine in your expression of concern for them. Make it clear that you are interested in listening which is what friends do for other friends.

Participating in Activities You Enjoy

couple jogging
  1. Garden or do yard work
  2. Take an exercise class or do exercises at home
  3. Go dancing
  4. Participate in activities organized for seniors by the Louisburg Recreation Commission
  5. Walk or bicycle with a friend or neighbor
  6. Take a swimming class
  7. Play with your grandchildren.
  8. Teach them a game or dance you remember from childhood.

Participate in Activities Organized by the Louisburg Library

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Key factors to not only good health, but also an enjoyable and meaningful life include:

One day someone special will be gone. And on that clear, cold morning, in the warmth of your bedroom, you might be struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more. No more hugs;  No more lucky moments to celebrate together; ​No more phone calls just to chat; ​No more 'just one minute.' Sometimes, what we care about the most goes away, never to return before we can say good-bye. So while we have it, it's best we love it, and care for it and fix it when it's broken; And take good care of it when it's sick. This is true for marriage and friendships; And children with bad report cards; And dogs with bad hips; And aging parents and grandparents; We keep them because they are worth it, because we cherish them! Some things we keep, like a best friend who moved away, or a classmate we grew up with. There are just some things that ​make us happy, no matter what. Life is important, and so are the people we know. And so, we keep them close! GOD determines who walks into our life, it's up to us to decide who we let walk away, who we let stay, and who we refuse to let go.

According to Dr. Sheldon Cohen, a psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, who has been exploring the links between relationships and health for more than three decades, "It’s generally healthy for people to try to belong to different groups, to volunteer in different ways, and be involved with a church or involved in their neighborhood.” “Involvement with other people across diverse situations clearly can have a very potent, very positive effect on health.”

Steps You Can Take to Stay Connected and Engaged

Health Benefits of Religion and Spirituality

People who attend religious services tend to enjoy better health, church musiclive longer and recover from illness faster and with fewer complications than do those who don't attend such services. They also tend to cope better with illness and experience less depression. (Healthy Aging, p. 124)

Participating in activities you enjoy should be fun, not stressful.