According to the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 15-30% of people are chronically lonely, a condition that extends to both people under 18 and over 65. Loneliness can be especially concerning for seniors 70 and up because it develops over time as they fall out of touch with old friends, children visit less, and social calendars decline.
Psychology Today reports that people in their 50’s can curb encroaching isolation through the joy of reunions. Everyone has that old friend or ex-lover they wonder about. Our lives can get so busy, we fall out of touch. Or we think about a lover from long ago, and wonder if they remember us, or if they’d want to hear from us again. Regardless of your age, reuniting with that person can bring a wealth of benefits both physical and psychological.
The Health Benefits of Ongoing Friendships
The good news is that positive social interactions can actually deliver physical health benefits. “Being with old friends is like slipping into your favorite pajamas — there’s instant relaxation, which reduces stress,” explains licensed clinical counselor, Rachel Noble, in AARP’s Staying Sharp blog. “You connect on a deeper level, since you know each other so well.”
And it’s especially good for your brain. A 2016 study in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences reported that healthy interactions can reduce blood pressure and inflammation, both of which can can have a negative effect on brain health if untreated. The study concluded that social interactions are on par with diet and exercise for mitigating health risks.
Reconnecting with Old Flames
Reuniting with a former boyfriend or girlfriend from high school or college awakens an even deeper bond. The neurological attachment that occurs between young lovers can actually be akin to the bond a baby forms with its mother, according to Discover Magazine. Hormones like vasopressin and oxytocin forge a sense of closeness in these relationships. If an old love was your first, or was the best or most intimate relationship you had, the neurological mark is even more pronounced.
How to Find Old Friends and Love Interests
Whether you’re surrounded by friends and family or you’re beginning to isolated, reconnecting with old loved ones may be a healthy addition to your life. Here are a few ways you can reach them (even after all these years):
- Give them a call. Lost their number or have an outdated one? No problem! Perform a name search to find updated phone numbers.
- Send a card. Even if it’s been years since you last knew where they lived, you can find their latest address by running a name or reverse phone search.
- Connect on social media. Even if you only have an old email address, you can still use it to find social profiles so that you can connect and say hello.
We wish you continued happy connections and new reunions!