Why You Should Focus on Your Social Life as You Age

elderly woman playing cards with senior friends drinking coffee

Over the years, we’ve learned the importance of holistic wellness. Caring for the whole person – mind,  body and spirit – seems to be the key to a long, meaningful life. Physical wellness is the most obvious of the trifecta and the easiest to measure. Mental health can also be easy to gauge as we age, especially if an individual experiences loss of memory or has troubling remembering. Social well-being, however, can be hard to quantify, but it has more benefits than most people can imagine, especially when it comes to seniors and socialization.

The importance of socialization for seniors is backed by numerous studies, experiments and research. Strong relationships are crucial throughout all phases of life, but are especially necessary for older adults. Isolation and loneliness are some of the most common emotions seniors feel in their golden years. These feelings can sneak up on you, and at times they can feel overwhelming. Having a diverse range of connections can help combat these feelings and reinvigorate a senior’s sense of purpose.

Human beings are social in nature. Since before any of us were born, our ancestors lived in tribes and channeled our innate desire to belong to something bigger than ourselves. Relationships provide meaning and fulfilment, allowing us to feel interconnected and supported no matter the situation. Research has proven that companionship is an essential piece of the puzzle to a long, happy life. In fact, studies have shown that a strong social life can positively affect our physical and mental health as well. 

 

The Physical Health Benefits of Social Interaction for Seniors

 

Lower stress and anxiety levels

It’s been proven  that older adults who have an active social life can better manage and cope with stress. Socialization can also reduce anxiety in older adults. Reducing stressors can have an immense impact on the body, increasing cardiovascular health and strengthening the immune system.

 

Lower risk of depression

Depression often derives from isolation and loneliness, a common emotion among seniors who don’t  have an active social life. Consistent socialization can in fact reduce the risk of depression. 

 

Increased longevity

Consistent socialization can actually extend your lifespan over time. Studies have shown that seniors who are properly socialized well into their adult years and beyond actually live longer.

 

Greater physical activity

Seniors with diverse social circles actually find themselves being more physically active. After all, holistic wellness is all intertwined. 

 

The Cognitive Health Benefits of Social Interaction for Seniors

 

Overall improved mind health

Social interactions help keep seniors’ minds sharp, and provide mental stimulation and intellectual engagement. 

 

Memory decline prevention

Cognitive improvement due to positive social engagement can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia and memory loss. 

 

How can we provide social support to older adults?

Now that we know the importance of socialization for seniors, how can we ensure seniors are practicing strong social wellness? Senior living communities have proven very successful in keeping older adults socially stimulated and continuing to form meaningful relationships. 

For example, at Freedom Plaza, activities are abundant and the social needs of older adults are always met. Seniors can enjoy a candid conversation with a neighbor over breakfast or meet the gang for a quick round on our 18-hole golf course. Every walk down the hall offers the opportunity to make a new acquaintance or catch up with an old friend. And all these interactions compounded lead to distinct health benefits, better quality of life, and that one thing we’re all looking for no matter our age – true happiness. 

As you learn more about seniors and socialization, we encourage you to think about your own relationships and next steps for you or your loved one. We hope you know the door of Freedom Plaza is always open, and our responsive team members are always happy to answer any questions you may have. As you explore your options, we hope you’ll take a visit to Freedom Plaza, where camaraderie is never hard to come by.