Everyone needs social engagement and stimulation, this is something that for a lot people comes easy in younger years. However, as we age, social relationships can, at times, dwindle. However, maintaining social functioning is something that will not only make you more happy but it something that can affect physical and psychological well-being.
How Social Engagement And Relationships Help Seniors
Eating healthy, physical exercise, and a positive attitude are all important in healthy aging and can all increase physical and mental health capabilities. With that said, being social and engaging with others may be one of the keys to living a long and happy life. Louis Cozolino, a professor of psychology at Pepperdine believes that human relationships can have a major impact on the way we function later in life.
“Of all the experiences we need to survive and thrive, it is the experience of relating to others that is the most meaningful and important,” he wrote in his book.
In fact, in one study that looked at how social and community ties can influence a person’s mortality. The research found that people who had more social engagement were more likely to live longer than those without that type of stimulation.
Moreover, isolation can be a dangerous thing, especially for seniors. For example, research shows that older adults who are experiencing social isolation are at a greater risk of sickness, disability, and even premature death. Similarly, socially engaged people are less likely to experience mental decline.
Along with helping with loneliness, social interactions also help to keep your mind working as these types of interactions can be a mental workout. Conversations engage mental skills, reasoning language, and more all of which can help to maintain mind and memory.
A study published in Health Psychology, an academic journal, found leisure activities, especially physical activities, mediate social relationships. Not only would participating in some type of physical activity help to draw social engagement with others, it is also great for physical health, which, as we know, is a key to staying healthy as we get older.
How To Get Engaged
Understanding that participating in social activities and engaging with others is good for mental and physical health is great, but some may not know how to get themselves or their loved ones involved.
One great way to stay socially engaged with others is to do service work and volunteer your time. Volunteering is a win-win situation, not only will you make a difference in someone else’s life but it also keeps your mind engaged as you work with a variety of people. Also, depending on what type of work you sign up to participate in, you will likely be participating in hands-on activities. Also, there is some evidence that giving social support to others was linked with lower rates of mortality than those who did not.
Volunteering is one of the many options available to seniors for getting involved and living a socially stimulating lifestyle.
Many local colleges and universities will offer continuing-education courses that allow older adults to audit regular classes for free. Some schools even offer classes specifically designed for seniors. While going back to school may not interest everyone, it is a great way to meet new friends. Not to mention that you will be mentally challenged throughout the course, something that is great for mental health upkeep. Similarly, you can look to find classes offered by a third party for some type of hobby you enjoy. For instance, art classes, yoga lessons, and more are all easy to find online.
Many senior centers nowadays don’t just have bingo nights once a week. Instead most senior centers have have a variety of classes, programs, and activities all throughout the week that are available. Stopping by at a local senior center is a great way to meet more people in your community and fill up your social calendar.
After retirement, a lot of seniors may not know what to do with all the free time that they have. This is normal. And, while many find hobbies and activities to fill that time, others like to engage in productive activities. Because of this, some seniors choose to take on a part-time job. Continuing work not only helps to keep you mentally engaged but is a great way to meet and interact with people. Not to mention, you’ll also be making a few extra bucks along the way.
Get Involved At Church
If you are a religious person, going to a church and getting involved with the pastors and elders is a great way to stay occupied. Many churches will offer religious studies classes, many of which are separated by age. If you’re looking for a new church, don’t be shy, churches are welcoming and are eager to meet more people and introduce them around to other churchgoers.
Whether it’s going back to school, working, or an exercise class, social engagement for seniors is one of the best ways that older adults can keep their mind active. Staying socially stimulated has also been shown to improve physical and psychological functioning and there is evidence that individuals with large social calendars tend to live longer than those without. If you or a loved one is having trouble finding events and activities to attend, it can be a good idea to look up local senior centers for fun ideas. And, if your loved one is struggling with living alone, it may be best to find an assisted living facility.
At Landmark Senior Living, our staff sets up activities for our residents to keep them happy during their time at Landmark. Along with social events, our staff is trained to help with medical conditions that your loved one may be dealing with and can provide the type of care that they deserve. If you are looking for an assisted living facility for your loved one, reach out to Landmark. You can visit our website and schedule a free walkthrough of one of our assisted living facilities.