The Friendship Connection to Well-being

Friends talking together in The Vistas library.

There’s probably nothing better for our well-being than being with friends — people who understand us, respect us, and yes, get us. Sharing memories and laughs over a drink or a meal is a wonderful gift for our spirit, but did you know it’s good for our physical well-being too?


We all know that finding friends to connect with, to spend time with, and to just be with enhances our lives. Emotionally, we feel good being with people and sharing our thoughts, hopes, and dreams. We share both good times and bad. Sometimes when we talk with our friends, we aren’t looking for advice or even a solution to our problems. Just having friends listen to us is all we need to feel better.


Physically, it’s been proven that friendship can extend life expectancy and lower the chance of heart disease. Being with friends ignites the part of the brain that makes us feel good, which makes us want to keep hanging out with them. So in a way, having friends makes us healthier. Friends are important. And when we find good ones, sometimes neither time nor space can sever our bonds.

Over 30 years ago in New Hope, PA, Susan Kenkelen worked for a real estate agency, and Barbara Czepukaitis was her manager. The two women became close. Another woman, Sue O’Neill, along with her husband, Dan, purchased a home through that real estate firm. Sue joined the two, and soon it was a trio of fast friends. Their bonds were further cemented when Vince Czepukaitis became the O’Neills’ financial advisor and Susan Kenkelen’s daughter babysat for the O’Neills’ children. Along with their husbands, the group enjoyed many fun times together.


However, as is often the case, years went by, life went on, and the friends lost touch with each other. Fast-forward to 2017, and the Czepukaitises moved to Willow Valley Communities’ Vistas community. They were thrilled to learn that, since 2016, the Kenkelens had been Residents of the Villas in Providence Park. Astonishingly, the O’Neills also moved to The Vistas.
The three started up right where they had left off. Barbara, Susan, and Sue now get together regularly, and it’s always a fun time. Over a meal or drinks, they share memories and laughs, sometimes just the three of them and sometimes along with their husbands. They’ve enjoyed events at Willow Valley Communities, trips, and also dinners out at favorite restaurants in Lancaster City.


At Willow Valley Communities, with 2,600 Residents and over 100 different clubs, groups, and classes, along with world-class entertainment and programming, there are plenty of opportunities to meet new friends who share your interests. But it’s also fun to reconnect with friends from the past. Barbara, Sue, and Susan have many memories to share with each other and a wealth of experiences that still await them.


“Willow Valley Communities brought us back together again, and we are so very grateful,” Barbara says. “We’re not going to waste a moment!”

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