Why it helps to have friends
As well as financial worries, one of the big issues facing people as they age is social isolation.
According to the
Office for Seniors, which is part of the
Ministry of Social
Development, older people are particularly vulnerable to social isolation or loneliness due to losing income, health and mobility, and family and friends. Living alone and being unable to get out and about due to financial constraints or medical conditions can have a huge impact on some people – research shows that not having social connections can be as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Erica Whyte, who has been retired for 17 years, says one of the best things she has done is to maintain friendships.
“I still know people I went to kindergarten and boarding school with, and today they are some of my best friends,” says Erica (71), whose husband Don died six years after they retired.
“Having good friendships is so important. Your children are busy in their own lives with their jobs and their families, so often it is your own peer group that gives you support, because they are sharing the experience. You don’t have to explain things to them, they know what it is like.”
Did you know? Research suggests that about half of older Kiwis experience some level of loneliness, and eight to nine per cent say they feel lonely all or most of the time.