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Friends and Longevity

Family, friends, confidants. How one defines those terms and what role each plays in a personâ??s life might influence that personâ??s longevity.

As the old saying goes, you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family. A new study suggests that if you want to live a long life, you should focus on the friends.

A team of Australian researchers has found that having a strong network of friends seems to help seniors live longer -- more so even than having relatives, children or a close confidant. ["Having wide circle of friends may be the ticket to long life" by Helen Branswell CP, The London Free Press, 2005-6-16]

Categories. Yes, they are important, at least in a general sense, for contrast/comparison. However, while you might want to launch busybody Aunt Gertie with the snappish personality on a rocket to her own private planet, on the other hand, you might develop a strong friendship with your adult daughter or son that transcends familial duty or expectations.

Relatives can be friends, but â??the researchers didn't look at whether there was a difference between supportive children and children whose demands or lifestyles create stress or conflict for their aging parents.â?

If, as the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, it just might take a village to support the elderly. Actually, the village supports us all, if you think about it.

So, choose friends, a wide circle of them, and donâ??t lump them into one bag separate from relatives or confidants. Some friends might fit more than one category. The more, the merrier, as I see it.

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