Happy, positive relationships play a major role in our mental and physical wellness. As humans, we crave socialization and the ability to connect with others who share our same values, passions, and circumstances.

Relationships are not limited to family or spouses, however. You may have close friends, neighbors, or community church members with whom you’ve formed strong connections over the years.

“From coordinating our day with our spouse and children, collaborating with coworkers, and saying hello to our favorite grocery cashier, loving relationships sustain us, define us, and keep us healthy,” (University of Utah).

As we celebrate the season of love (i.e., Valentine’s Day), we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on the benefits of healthy relationships. Also, we wanted to share how Sweetwater Retirement Community works to create safe, fun, and social opportunities for residents to gather and build lasting friendships.

Before we discuss the benefits of being in a relationship, let’s first review what we mean by “healthy” relationships. 

Signs of a Healthy Relationship

  • Trust: No matter what type of relationship you’re in, mutual trust should always be a top priority. This means knowing you can always rely on this person. It also means feeling safe in this person’s presence—both emotionally and physically. 

Although we’ve listed a few other examples below, trust is always at the heart of a healthy relationship. In fact, it makes the other traits possible. 

  • Communication: Having trust also means you can talk to this individual freely—without fear of ridicule or judgment. You’re able to be open and honest in your interactions.
  • Support: Having someone who has your back during both the good times and challenging ones is essential. With so many changes in the world happening at lightning speed these days, it really is invaluable to find a friend you can count on to listen to your concerns and hold your hand through the journey ahead.
  • Respect: Respecting someone for both his or her similarities and differences is important. This levels the playing field and allows each person to feel equal in the relationship—meaning that your contributions to the friendship are both appreciated and valued.
  • Fun: Let’s not forget that you should also be able to have fun with this person. You want someone who can make you laugh. Someone who enjoys the types of hobbies you like.

Relationship Benefits

Now that we know what to look for in a healthy relationship, let’s review why they’re important. And how they can benefit us long term.

It’s reported that when you’re engaged in a healthy relationship, you can expect less stress, a stronger immune system, and a longer lifespan:

“…studies show that people who engage in supportive, positive relationships produce more oxytocin and seem less likely to succumb to the negative effects of stress, anxiety, and depression,” (University of Utah). 

We mentioned Valentine’s Day earlier, but did you know that positive relationships are also good for the heart? Clinical research continues to demonstrate how relationships can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and encourage us to pursue healthier lifestyles:

“Studies have shown physical intimacy, such as holding hands or hugging, can lower levels of stress hormones…[b]ut relationships play a bigger role beyond regulating stress…A supportive partner might encourage you in healthy ways – to exercise or eat better or see a doctor when you need one,” (American Heart Association). 

Why Relationships Are Important at Sweetwater

After what felt like a never-ending period of lockdowns and social isolation, maintaining positive relationships were certainly put to the ultimate test. But, unfortunately, not everyone was able to receive the type of human contact and support they needed during that time, leading to rises in anxiety and depression.

At Sweetwater, our focus has always been to provide residents with access to safe, fun, and entertaining weekly calendar activities. We design these activities to help them build new friendships and surround themselves with a strong support system.

In fact, each one of our communities has a team of life enrichment coordinators. These individuals are responsible for creating group activities that inspire, educate, and bring residents together.

Activities we offer, but are not limited to, include:

  • Bingo
  • Movie nights
  • Ice cream socials
  • Group wellness programs
  • Pet therapy
  • Game nights
  • Arts and crafts
  • And More!

In addition to our weekly events, each community also offers access to a chapel for praise and worship, library, wellness center, beauty salon, game room, and lifelong learning opportunities.

Our Primrose Senior University, for instance, allows residents to attend in-person courses. Topics may range from ancient civilizations and mythology to favorite pastimes and local historic landmarks. These educational programs provide residents with new opportunities to expand their minds while they learn, create, and engage with each other on a diverse variety of subjects.To find what type of exciting and social activities are happening at Sweetwater, check out our Senior Wellness Calendar to browse our endless amenities and activities!

Building Friendships & Transforming Lives

At Sweetwater, we want your first positive relationship to be with our team, who will respect, support, and encourage you to live each day to its fullest potential. And our goal is to build trust with you, so you start seeing us more as family.

Think Sweetwater might be the best investment for you? We invite you to browse our website or contact us directly, so we can have a conversation!