Did you know that staying socially active can help seniors maintain both good physical and emotional health? In fact, being socially active can be just as effective as exercise for improving your mood and overall quality of life. Plus, social connections offer great benefits to your cognitive functioning as well, leading to a sharper mind as you age.
Social wellness refers to the ability you have to interact with the people around you. Using good communication skills, building meaningful relationships, and respecting yourself and others helps create a support system comprised of family members and friends. Various studies have been conducted that show how those seniors who are socially isolated are more susceptible to illness, and even have a death rate of two to three times higher than those who are actively maintaining social relationships.
Along with a lower death rate, seniors who are maintaining social relationships see numerous health benefits. For example, you can potentially lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular problems, and even some cancers! Socially active seniors can have lower blood pressure and a boosted immune system, not to mention better eating habits, as you tend to eat more when you’re around others.
Staying socially active keeps you connected to the world around you, giving you a true sense of belonging. If you are finding it difficult to maintain social connections in your later years, here are a few ways to enhance your social life:
• Join a club. Find a local book club, garden club, golf group, etc. –, anything you enjoy doing. You’ll meet others and share experiences with those who have similar interests.
• Take a class. Community colleges often offer classes for seniors, or check out an adult education center. Perhaps you want to learn more about history, or take a writing course or art class. These classes are not only great for forming new relationships, but as an added bonus they keep your brain sharp and active, too!
• Volunteer. Seniors who are physically able are encouraged to volunteer within the community. Whether it’s offering skills you’ve learned throughout your career, walking the dogs at an animal shelter, or helping out a local hospital, volunteering can lead to a feeling of accomplishment and purpose while keeping you socially connected.
• Get a part time job. Working a part time job is also a great way to keep your brain stimulated and connected to others. You can choose a job that’s low stress and fun and keep your hours to a minimum.
• Join a gym. Staying physically active is vital for seniors, and by joining a gym you’ll not only improve your physical fitness levels, but you’ll also get the social engagement you need.
• Reach out to others. If you’re feeling isolated, visit family members or offer to assist with childcare needs. Call friends and invite them over for lunch. It’s so important to make the effort to maintain those relationships on a daily or weekly basis.
At Concordia, we can assure you that you’ll never be bored and you’ll stay as socially active as you desire! Your social calendar will be chock-full of all the wonderful events and activities we offer to our residents to ensure social isolation is never an issue. Staying socially active can only enrich your life, so get involved with others any way that you can.