As a person ages, there are some things that really can make a difference when it comes to maintaining good health and wellness. Spending time with others is one of those things. In fact, socialization for seniors—building social capital—might have a bigger impact on physical and mental health than you realize.
People who need people: Why socialization for older adults matters
The benefit of socialization is about more than being around other people. It’s extending your circle and being around someone who is not a family member or regular contact. For example, research shows that having “friend networks” can play a major role in the physical and mental health of seniors. A friend network can be a class you regularly attend. A group you meet with for volunteering activities. A social club.
These networks provide you with social capital: the resources that enable you to maintain a productive, independent, and fulfilling life, and the bond you develop with others as together, you pursue a common goal. You’ll find both at a Senior Star community.
Here are some more benefits of socialization for seniors:
You’ll stay more active. Just sitting around with a few family members and watching television is one thing. But having to get out of the home and engage with others forces you to get moving physically and change your surroundings. A study reported that older adults who interacted with people beyond their usual social circle of family and close friends were more likely to have higher levels of physical activity, greater positive moods, and fewer negative feelings. The positive health benefits of socialization for seniors are very important.
You feel better about yourself. Meeting new people, stretching your list of friends to include new faces, and interacting with interesting people gives you confidence and can improve your self-esteem. You feel a part of something bigger. And you often learn things about yourself from others which also enhances your sense of self.
You belong somewhere. Staying at home in the same old routine can make you feel like you aren’t a part of anything. Spending time with those who appreciate you and rely on you can give you a feeling of belonging and a sense of purpose. When you join a club, others want you to participate. If you know you’re expected at a volunteering event, you’ll find it easier to get up in the morning and get involved. It feels good to know others look forward to seeing you. Socialization for seniors includes finding activities and company that gives you a sense of purpose. At Senior Star, we believe every senior deserves a place filled with exploration, passion and meaning.
You’ll stay motivated. Temptations are everywhere—too much sugar, too much alcohol, skipping a morning walk or workout several times a week, not signing up for a class or seminar because the couch looks too enticing and more. Here’s where socialization for seniors really comes into play.
You’re less likely to skip the Zumba class because you know your friends are waiting. You enjoy attending a class and don’t want to miss a lively debate. Walking a healthy path is easier—and lots more fun—if you’re connected with people who become good friends.
Your doctor will smile. Socialization for seniors is a prescription for good health and disease prevention. Consider the list of diseases and conditions that can be reduced or avoided by positive social interaction: cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, even cognitive decline in the form of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Stay involved and around a wide network of friends and you will reap the benefits in overall physical health.
You’ll fight off depression and loneliness. Feeling left out, alone and isolated is a very dangerous thing for an older adult. Research is confirming just how dangerous, finding that perceived loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. That’s pretty alarming. And it’s important to remember it’s not about the number of people you are around. It’s the quality of the relationships.
It’s also why so many seniors choose to move to a senior living community like Senior Star, where they can be surrounded by a group of interesting and friendly people who share their interests and goals. In a vibrant setting of activities, classes, special events, outings, dining, and more, you have multiple opportunities to mingle and share the perks of a carefree lifestyle.
We make it easy to build positive relationships.
Explore lifestyle options available to you and your loved ones and find a new home for yourself and a loved one in a Senior Star Community near you. Download our free guide Choosing The Right Community. Questions about senior living? Contact us to learn more.