Written by Panorama resident, Deb Ross. January 2017
An article by Paula Span in the New York Times inspired me to write this blog entry. The title of the article is “Loneliness Can be Deadly for Elders: Friends are the Antidote.”
The article notes that the importance of maintaining social contacts is well known: having someone you can call in the event of an emergency, keeping mentally and physically fit, and less likely to succumb to depression, all contribute to health, safety, and longevity. The article goes on to say that this can be difficult for seniors, as our old friends move away or pass away. Interestingly, as we get older, our definitions of friendship evolve: we seek out more meaningful relationships and can overlook quirks and tics in our friends that would formerly have annoyed us.
My non-Panorama friends and relatives often ask me how I am fitting in here. Of course, I mention the many activities and amenities that our community has to offer. I always add, though, that I have been pleasantly surprised at the number of folks I genuinely like and consider friends, not just acquaintances. A surprise because, of course, we baby boomers believed that we shouldn’t “trust anyone over 30.”
The Times article notes, “I couldn’t help noticing how many of the elders I spoke with had benefited from living in retirement communities and nursing homes – the very destinations so many people dread. They can provide proximity, shared activities, and a larger pool of prospective friends.”
One of the things that Panorama encourages is the development of social interest groups – whether it be genealogy, book groups, politics, foreign language, neighborhood get-togethers, or just having fun. Panorama can provide meeting spaces, transportation, copying and communication services, and other assistance for these activities. There are also numerous places around campus just to “hang out” and share a cup of coffee, work on a jigsaw puzzle or launch an impromptu card game. In time, we may even have a Resident Portal on the Internet to make it even easier and seamless for us to share ideas and friendship.