For those battling loneliness and isolation, coming to therapy and making friends with others can have a curative effect. Many is the time that patient’s establish friendships with fellow patients looking forward to their meetings in therapy.
Patients have even gone so far as to schedule their appointment times to coincide with their new found friends. Physical therapy, especially in an open atmosphere such as our clinic, encourages patient interaction. To quote one of our older (87 y.o.) patients, “Sometimes I’m not sure if I want to go out, but when I come back home, I feel I’ve had a good morning. It’s nice to meet other people like myself, but especially to meet the younger folks who are so respectful. I always come back feeling positive and encouraged”.
From my observations, the shared laughter and camaraderie creates a feeling of being valued, listened to, and that you matter. A well-known Harvard University study that tracked 724 people over their entire adult lives clearly determined that social relationships was the best prediction of a person’s long-term physical and emotional well-being. In a nutshell, it is the quality of relationships and not the quantity that matters most.