Keep making new friends as you age

Mother’s Day is a special day for everyone. A day to give gifts and send cards to your mother if she’s still living or visit her grave if she isn’t.
A time to remember all the funny stories about your mother. And a time to remember the wonderful things she did for you, like comforting you when you fell as a child or serving you breakfast in bed when you were a teenager.
This past Mother’s Day, I celebrated in a different way. I stayed home from church to care for “Amber,” our new six-month-old puppy who isn’t quite ready to stay in the house by herself.
We had to have a dog right away to help assuage the grief after our beautiful, white “Phoebe” died. This time, we brought home a loving reddish-coloured mixed breed from our local Caring Hands Humane Society.
We named her “Amber” because of her beautiful coat.
Amber loves to be outside on a long chain on the patio, where I can watch her from my desk. On Sunday morning, she refused to come in. But after a while, I heard one demanding bark!
“I want to come in,” said Amber. So I obliged.
Unfortunately, she had tangled herself around bushes and pots of flowers. As I tried to untangle her leash, I lost my footing and fell. Luckily, a large bag of potting soil cushioned my blow.
Still, I was stunned. Almost in shock, I felt I shouldn’t be by myself. But all of my family members were involved in activities away from phones. As I thought about who may be willing to come help out, my good friend Jeannine came to mind.
One of the perks of my morning water aerobics class is the new friends I have found. Jeannine, who is much younger than I am, is one of those new friends. In fact, I got a beautiful Mother’s Day card from her this year.
The card has a cheery bouquet of tulips on the front and inside it is addressed “To my ‘Pool Mom.’”
In no time at all, Jeannine and her son were here.
Three years ago, I would never have called Jeannine to help me in an emergency. In fact, I didn’t even know her. Then she joined our water exercise class and now serves as an assistant to the wellness centre director.
As you age, it’s very important to make new friends to replace the ones you lose. After retirement, some of your friends may move to warmer climates or settle closer to their children.
And as you get older, you sadly may lose some friends to death.
Having lots of friends is one of the keys to successful aging, according to a researcher at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Kelly Everard studied the relationship between activity and older adults’ well-being and found that “social activities” are very important to successful aging.
So always remember that staying connected is one of the keys to a long, healthy life. Treasure your old friends—and make it a priority to keep making new ones throughout your lifetime.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit www.visit-snider.com

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