Sunday, August 1, 2010


Friends on an outing at Lake Gardens, KL

What better way to celebrate Friendship Day today than with a toast to good friends everywhere! Did you know that having good friends adds years to our lives? "50% boost in survival chances," claims the Brigham Young University team in a BBC report dated 28 July 2010. The team had based their findings on 150 studies carried out on over 300,000 people from four continents over a period of seven years. It's hard to dismiss such impressive numbers.

Says Michelle Mitchell of Age UK, "It's well known that social relationships are extremely important to older people's well-being, yet sadly one-in-10 over-65s say they always or often feel lonely. Many people in later life struggle to maintain social networks due to mobility difficulties, access to transport or following the death of a spouse. The isolation and loneliness many face can also lead to symptoms of depression, affecting one-in-four older people."

That's one reason why Seniorsaloud came into being - to provide older folks, especially those in Malaysia and Singapore, a platform to network. It's reassuring to know we have friends out there who share similar life experiences. Whether we like it or not, there will come a time when we are less mobile. The internet will be our main link to our friends and the world outside our home.

So while we are still physically able, let's not sit around at home and mope. Get in touch with old friends. Organize fun outings. Volunteer your services to community-based NGOs. Extend your network of friends. You get to live longer. Having few friends is as damaging to survival as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being alcoholic, reports PLoS Medicine.

Here's to good friends everywhere. May we all see many more returns of this day!


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