How Social Connections and Activities Keep Seniors Healthy
Humans are known for being social creatures, and it’s important for us to develop and maintain bonds with others throughout our lives — especially as we age. How? Interacting with other people, whether it is friends and family or casual acquaintances, could be the secret to helping you improve your health.
The Importance of Socialization for Seniors
Why should you stay active in a social circle? Because living a socially active lifestyle can have a dramatic, positive effect on your emotional, physical and mental well-being while reducing social isolation.
Social Interaction Helps Improve Your Overall Health and Well-Being
Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin discovered through an interactive survey of 300 individuals over the age of 65 that there was a correlation between social interaction and health. This study showed that individuals who interacted with a wide variety of people reported having fewer negative thoughts and experienced more positive moods.
In addition to improving overall emotional and mental well-being, the study also discovered that activity levels increased the more a person interacted with other people. This, in turn, can help improve a person’s overall health which can encourage you to age successfully.
Seniors are at Risk of Experiencing Social Isolation
Social isolation of older individuals is more common than you might think. A study conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) discovered that almost 25% of study participants over the age of 65 could be classified as socially isolated. Even if an individual didn’t meet the study’s criteria to be classified as socially isolated, there were many, almost 33%, who still reported feeling lonely, depressed and isolated.
Why are seniors at such a high risk of becoming socially isolated? There are a number of reasons. Some of the reasons why social isolation occurs as we age include:
- Declining health — experiencing chronic health problems can make getting out and interacting/visiting difficult
- Living alone — children move out on their own or go to college, spouses pass away or divorce occurs
- Hearing loss makes it difficult to take part in activities
- Family/friends may move away and not live as close
- Fewer opportunities to get out and meet new people — older individuals may be retired or they may not know how to connect with other individuals in the community
Benefits of Being Socially Active as a Senior
The University of Texas at Austin study shows just a few ways social interaction can help improve your health. Other examples of how creating and maintaining strong social connections can help you include:
- Reducing the risk of experiencing mental decline
- Improves mental well-being by reducing the risk of various mental health issues such as anxiety and depression
- Encourages you to maintain good physical health
- Reduces your risk of experiencing health problems, such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and arthritis, by encouraging you to stay physically active
- Increases longevity – a study published by Medical News Today found that individuals who had strong social ties tended to live longer than those who had less social interaction
Ways to Become Socially Active at a Senior Living Community in Oklahoma City
Need a few ideas of how to live a more socially active lifestyle in Oklahoma? Here are suggestions to help you get started:
- Join a book club or other activity club — this allows you to pursue your interests and hobbies while meeting new people and forming new connections
- Volunteer — volunteer work gives you the opportunity to help the community while interacting with other individuals
- Get a pet — becoming a pet owner provides you with numerous opportunities to interact and engage with others. Everything from just walking in the neighborhood to meeting at a dog park are great ways to remain active
- Pick up a new hobby
- Take part in an exercise class — this helps to improve your overall health while providing you with opportunities to make new friends and interact with others
Stay Active and Improve Your Social Connections at Concordia Senior Living
Many people, especially as they get older, find it difficult to make friends. Luckily, Concordia, an Oklahoma City Senior Living Community, has created a warm, welcoming environment that offers you plenty of opportunities to not only remain active, but to get out there and meet new people.
Whether you want to be active all the time or you just want to interact sometimes, Concordia has something for everyone. Our activities director carefully plans numerous activities at our retirement community, such as arts and crafts, outings and games, that provide you with the ability to get out, have fun and interact with lots of new people.
In addition to our carefully planned activities, Concordia provides other wonderful ways in which residents are encouraged to remain active. These include:
- Dining rooms — residents are encouraged to eat meals together which gives them an opportunity to socialize and interact with each other
- Daily fitness classes and activities
- Helping to find and connect you with volunteer opportunities
- Planned community games, social activities and group activities
- Community celebrations — resident birthdays, etc.
- Seasonal celebrations — holidays
- On-site chapel — local chaplains from nearby churches regularly stop by our community to hold gatherings with our residents
- Activities directors who can help plan activities or events that cater to your interests and hobbies — if you don’t see an activity you would like to engage in at our community, our staff will gladly work with you to help plan these types of events or activities
Schedule a tour of our senior living community and learn more about the amazing programs, social events and other amenities we offer residents in an effort to help reduce their risk of experiencing social isolation.