By: Gabrielle Tran

With a little help from our new friends at 55 Kip Center and Highland Park Senior Center, we recently presented “With a little help from my friends: The importance of social relationships during older adulthood.” Friendships are so important for many reasons. Research has shown that having friends is as important as healthy eating, exercise and sufficient sleep. With these presentations, Dr. Alison Thomas-Cottingham addressed the benefits of friendships and what friends contribute to our lives. She also explored how friendships change as we age. Audience members then played “Find a Friend Bingo” to mingle and make both new and old friends. She concluded with suggestions on how to nurture existing friendships and make new ones. Audience members from 55 Kip Center had such a great time reconnecting with old friends at the community; several in attendance even made plans to foster this connection over lunch.

We also conducted a presentation at Highland Park Senior Center, “Let’s talk about it. Speaking with older adults about sexual health.” Here, Alison defined sexual health and the importance of understanding what to expect with regard to sexual health as we age. She provided tips on how to communicate with your health care provider about this possibly sensitive subject. Audience members then interacted with different hypothetical scenarios, and even offered some personal advice to the characters in the scenarios!

With the holiday season rolling around, holiday stress is beginning to rise. Luckily, Alison presented “The Holidays: Ways to Eliminate the Stress and Enjoy the Simple Pleasures” at Hunterdon Senior Center. She held a holiday discussion filled with tips and advice on ways to enjoy the best time of the year. Winter is the season to spread joy and thanks, but it too, comes with it the hard work of preparing holiday feasts, the tedious struggles of travelling and all the other stressful emotions our families and the weather can bring about us. Alison also gave some tips on how to manage holiday stress.

As the year wraps up, the Discover65plus team would like to wish everyone a Happy Holiday! Be sure to look out for our upcoming presentations in January at Highland Park (Jan 13th) and the pilot of our sexual health promotion program in March. Check out our upcoming events section of the website for any details and additional events.