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.
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.
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.