The Top 5 Reasons Seniors Should Stay Socially Active

  • By Western Home Communities
  • 10 Jul, 2017
Happy socially active seniors

Why It’s Important to Stay Socially Active as You Age

Creating social relationships and connecting with other people is a huge part of what shapes us throughout our lives. Whether you are introverted or extroverted, maintaining a socially active lifestyle can impact your mental, physical and emotional well-being. In fact, staying engaged in social interactions can be just as effective as exercise in improving your mood and overall health.

The Benefits of Social Wellness

Social wellness refers to the relationships we have and how we interact with others. The way in which we develop genuine relationships with others to create nurturing and supportive connections can present many health benefits throughout our lives. As we get older and enter into our senior years, forming new relationships can become more challenging. However, maintaining strong relationships even as elderly adults is important to our overall well-being.

Some of the benefits of being socially active as a senior include:

Reduces risk for mental health issues. Staying socially active as you age can reduce risk for various mental health issues including depression and Alzheimer’s disease. By keeping your brain constantly engaged in activity and interaction you are sharpening your mind and reducing risk of cognitive decline.

Improves physical health. Another benefit of being socially active is that in many instances it correlates to keeping you physically active as well. Seniors who have a higher level of social relationships are more motivated to maintain good physical health as opposed to their less socially engaged peers. This can lead to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk for some cardiovascular problems, arthritis and some cancers, not to mention improve nutrition and boost the immune system, as we tend to eat more in social settings.

Increases longevity. Research from the Assisted Living Federation of America showed that seniors that were more active socially were more likely to live past the age of 90, and on average lived 5.4 years longer than those who were less engaged. This can be linked to the increased physical and mental stimulation that seniors with more active social lives enjoy.

Avoiding isolation and loneliness . According to studies, seniors who are engaged in regular social activities reported higher self-perception and lower levels of loneliness. In fact, research has shown that socially isolated seniors are more likely to develop long-term illnesses such as arthritis, chronic lung disease, impaired mobility and depression.

Creates a sense of belonging . Along with the many health benefits, staying socially active can give seniors a sense of belonging and make them feel more connected to the world. Participating in group activities and conversations allows seniors to create a support system as they age.

Find Active Living at Western Home Communities

Western Home Communities offers a variety of social activities to enrich the lives of seniors. Discover freedom and fun with our variety of maintenance-free living options  that are designed to create ease of mind and keep you socially engaged. Call us at 319-277-2141 to learn more about living a socially active lifestyle with Western Homes.

The Western Home Communities Blog

By Western Home Communities 30 Oct, 2017

As we age, our bodies begin to go through physical changes. We lose flexibility and range of motion, or develop pain associated with certain chronic conditions such as arthritis or osteoporosis. In fact, by the time adults enter into their forties, they begin to losing around three-to-five percent of their muscle mass with each subsequent decade of life.

Although most aging adults are aware of the risks associated with living a sedentary lifestyle, many stray away from taking part in a routine fitness program out of fear they will not be able to safely complete the exercises. A recent study revealed that approximately 67 percent of people aged 65 or older are inactive for over eight hours each day. Staying active as you age is vital to physical health, but also is an important part of maintaining independence and social well-being.

By Western Home Communities 23 Oct, 2017

Historically, seniors have used technology less often than their younger counterparts. However, recent research from the Pew Research Center  reports that those age 65 and older are beginning to catch up. Four years ago, only 18 percent of seniors had smartphones. Today that number has risen to 42 percent. Likewise, internet usage and home broadband adoption has increased among this age group by 55 percent since 2013.

Older adults are also the fastest-growing segment of the online population. They’re utilizing the internet in many of the same ways as their children and grandchildren, too, like for staying connected to others, getting their daily news, finding quick answers to health-related questions and more.

By Western Home Communities 16 Oct, 2017

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important at any stage in life. Eating a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly can provide a variety of health benefits to both children and adults. However, as we age, our metabolisms slow down and we become less active. Seniors who do not maintain an active lifestyle require fewer calories and develop smaller appetites, making it difficult to consume the necessary number of daily calories needed for proper nutrition.

According to the National Institutes of Health , proper nutrition can reduce the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, bone loss and even some types of cancer. Aging adults who eat a nutritious diet can also lower their risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

By Western Home Communities 09 Oct, 2017

Seniors fall for a variety of reasons. The normal aging process brings physical changes to your body, and you may experience a decrease in your overall strength and mobility. Or, changes in your vision may affect how well you’re able to see objects blocking your path. Medication side effects like dizziness or weakness are often to blame for senior falls, too.

Regardless of the reason for the fall, knowing how to prevent one from occurring can be key to your overall quality of life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC), falls are the number one cause of injuries in those age 65 and older. In fact, every year more than 2.5 million older individuals are treated in emergency rooms for an injury due to a fall. And, after you’ve fallen once, your chances of falling again actually double.

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Occupational therapy is a treatment that emerged in the United States in 1917 with the goal of helping people improve life skills and maintain their independence. Using a holistic approach, occupational therapists create programs that focus on adapting one’s environment to match that individual’s lifestyle. This process is completed by incorporating a variety of focused exercises and meaningful activities that promote participation in everyday life.

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The older you get, the more difficult it can become to stay physically active. In fact, as you entered your forties, you began to lose three-to-five percent of your muscle mass with each subsequent decade of life. Chronic conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis can make certain movements painful, limiting your flexibility and your range of motion. Maybe you simply don’t know what types of exercises are best or safest for your individual needs, or you’re wary of joining the fancy new gym down the street.

However, while exercise is important for those of all ages, active seniors enjoy a variety of additional benefits to their overall health. For instance, senior fitness helps with healthy aging in the following ways:

Managing chronic conditions. The more you move, the better you feel! Exercise is crucial for managing and reducing pain from conditions like arthritis, as regular movement helps lubricate the joints and decrease stiffness. Exercise has also been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease, cognitive impairment, diabetes and stroke.

Boosting mental health, memory and cognition.
Exercise is a known mood-booster, and it may be one of the most cost-effective ways to improve your memory performance, too. Exercise increases heart rate, which helps pump more oxygen to the brain. It also releases a variety of hormones in the brain that promote new cell growth.

Decreasing the need for some medications.
A combination of aerobic activity, strength training and flexibility exercises can reduce the need for the variety of medications you may take daily to manage your physical and mental conditions. For instance, exercise can help reduce systolic blood pressure and decrease your need for blood pressure medication.

Preventing falls.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in seniors; in fact, one out of three adults age 65 or older suffer a debilitating fall each year. Adding balance exercises can help keep you steady on your feet and lead to a higher level of independence.

Improving sleep habits.
Seniors who suffer from insomnia find that exercise helps exhaust them enough to enjoy restful sleep throughout the night. It makes sense – after all, if you are more active throughout the day, you will be more tired in the evening. Just make sure to avoid strenuous activity two hours before bedtime.

By Western Home Communities 14 Aug, 2017

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Creating social relationships and connecting with other people is a huge part of what shapes us throughout our lives. Whether you are introverted or extroverted, maintaining a socially active lifestyle can impact your mental, physical and emotional well-being. In fact, staying engaged in social interactions can be just as effective as exercise in improving your mood and overall health.

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