Everyone knows how helpful certain things like exercise, diet, and sleep can be for your health, but one thing that is often overlooked is friendships and social interaction. It is so important for people of all ages to create, nurture, and maintain friendships. Having a strong and supportive social circle can help you live a longer and healthier life.
Benefits Of Social Interaction
There is mounting evidence that there is a positive correlation between social interaction and health. One study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that there was strong evidence of an association between weaker social relationships and increased rates of readmission to hospitals.
Moreover, older adults who lacked social relationships and felt isolated report lower levels of self-rated physical health.
There have been a number of other studies and research reports that have looked into the benefits of things like social relationships and leisure activity and the effects that they can have on someone’s health. One study published in Health Psychology found that leisure activities can mediate the link between social relationships and health and that positive social relationships were associated with greater involvement in leisure activities which, in turn, was associated with better health in older age.
Conversely, there are a number of negative side effects associated with things like loneliness. For example, one study found that loneliness, coupled with other physical and mental health problems lead to some mental disorders, including depression in the elderly population.
Unfortunately, depression is a common problem among older adults but it should be noted that it is not a normal part of aging. But, many common life events and changes that happen with aging can cause feelings of uneasiness, stress, and sadness, all of which can lead to or exacerbate issues related to depression.
For example, the death of a loved one or stopping your job can lead to people feeling sad or anxious. It can take some time for some to regain emotional equilibrium, but for some, it may lead to developing depression. Some of the common signs of depression include tiredness, trouble sleeping, irritability, and more.
While there are treatment and therapeutic options for those dealing with depression, there are also preventative measures that you can take to help you avoid the situation in the first place. Keeping a stocked social calendar is a great way to stay socially stimulated and avoid the negative effects of loneliness, like depression, that can occur.
Tips For Staying Social
While there are a number of benefits that are associated with social relationships, many older adults may not know where exactly to begin when it comes to reaching out to people. However, there are a number of options available to you to help you meet new people and develop friendships that can last for years.
One of the best ways that you can meet new people is through volunteer work. Not only will it allow you to get yourself out there and meet like-minded individuals, but you can help others while you do it. It should also be noted that volunteer work also holds a number of health benefits. For example, according to a study published in the Gerontologist research journal, psychological well-being among older adults improved through the engagement of volunteer activities. There is a long list of volunteer opportunities that you can help with. For example, serving meals, organizing clothing donations, and caring for dogs or cats at a local animal shelter are all options. If you don’t know where to star you can look to volunteer with a local library, school, museum, or church.
Engaging in social and productive activities that you enjoy can help to improve physical health and emotional well-being. According to the National Institute on Aging, research suggests that older people who have a more active lifestyle that is filled with hobbies and activities are less likely to develop some diseases, have a longer lifespan, tend to be happier and less depressed, are better prepared to cope with loss and more. There are a number of different activities and hobbies that you can choose from, knitting, cooking, photography, painting, chess, baking, and more are just a few examples.
Learning Something New
Older adults may be more reluctant to branch out and learn something new as they may think it is too late to start learning a new ability or hobby, but this is far from the truth. There are tons of classes that you can take at a local art center or even a college to learn a new skill. Some common classes that seniors sometimes elect to take include cooking, art, dance, computer classes, and more.
Being social later in life, and for all ages, is incredibly important. Not only will it help you stay occupied, but it leads to a number of different physical and mental health benefits. Likewise, it also helps you avoid problems related to loneliness and depression.
Obviously, social engagement is important to maintain as we age as positive social relationships can lead to a number of health benefits and can help you avoid issues such as depression. Despite this, many seniors may not know how to begin, as social relationships can sometimes wilt as we age. Luckily, there are a number of resources that you can use to help improve your situation, meet new people, and stay engaged, even at a late age.
While staying active and social interaction is important as we age, staying healthy is even more important. Unfortunately, health is not guaranteed and, in some cases, seniors might struggle to avoid unhealthy situations. Fortunately, assisted living facilities in New Mexico can help provide residents with the quality care that they deserve at this point in your life. If you would like to learn more about what Landmark is and how we can help you or your loved one, please visit our website today. You can continue to reach out and schedule a complimentary walkthrough of one of our facilities as well.