As we get older, the relationships social seniors have can begin to wilt and some people that were once close to us may have faded into obscurity. This may seem obvious as in later life, people were likely to be widowed, have friends who have died, and to live alone. While family members might still be close, and even visit every once in a while, it is still important for seniors to maintain some type of social relationships with friends as well.
Social interactions and relationships hold a number of benefits for those who utilize and prioritize them. For many, being socially stimulated can lead to a number of mental and physical health benefits. Likewise, problems such as social isolation can lead to a number of health issues, and problems such as depression and heart disease.
It is important to get yourself out of your comfort zone here and there and try to experience new things and meet new people. Not only will you learn more about yourself, but there is also a good chance that you will meet someone new that may become important in your life. But, first, you have to give yourself this opportunity.
Benefits of Social Seniors
There are a number of positive benefits for seniors, and all people, who increase social interactions. There is large social evidence that shows that social relationships affect a range of health outcomes including mental health, physical health, mortality risk, and more.
On a similar note, there is some evidence that social relationships can benefit as we age. In fact, according to the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, older adults have reported greater satisfaction and fewer negative experiences in their social interactions than younger adults do. Meaning that they experience a greater intensity of positive emotions and less negative emotions with close social partners than younger adults do.
There is also evidence that shows that social ties may provide direct control by regulating healthier behaviors. Social ties can also help to promote personal control, regulate stress, and reduce risky behaviors such as alcohol consumption.
Being socially stimulated, especially late in life will help you enjoy life and can even provide a number of health benefits. According to one study, “without social ties, distress emerges and health fails.
There is a major positive relationship between social interactions and mental health. In fact, one study has found that it can have positive effects on psychological well-being, distress, and clinical depression. Mental health is incredibly important for people of all ages but becomes that much more vital for older individuals. It can impact cognitive functioning, physical health, and lead to a number of harmful, even potentially life-threatening effects, such as suicide. This is why it becomes important to prioritize these social interactions and avoid problems like loneliness and social isolation.
Avoiding Social Isolation
Humans are social creatures, we need others to really thrive and survive comfortably. Despite this, age can cause many problems and cause us to feel alone more often, this leaves us vulnerable to problems such as social isolation and loneliness, these problems can cause a number of issues such as cognitive decline, depression, and even increase risk of heart disease.
Luckily, there are a number of ways that you can increase opportunities for social interaction and find new ways to meet people. A few suggestions for meeting new people, even at an old age include:
Learn A New Activity — Learning a new hobby or activity such as an instrument or a new game can open of your world to a whole new community and can help you not only meet new people but stay mentally stimulated and maintain cognitive functioning.
Exercise — Joining an exercise class, whether it is yoga, Tai Chi, spin, or something else, will all give you the opportunity to meet and engage with others who have similar interests as you. Moreover, exercising will help you maintain physical health and even increase mental health.
Volunteer — Volunteering your time holds a number of benefits. Not only does it hold obvious advantages for those you are giving your time to, but it can help volunteers as well. According to the Corporation for National And Community Service, volunteering, especially for older adults, can lead to better health and lower rates of depression.
Consider A Pet — Animals hold a number of benefits for people who keep them. They can be a source of comfort and, according to the National Institute on Aging, can even lower stress and blood pressure. Pets also give people the opportunity to get out and meet others while taking their pet for a walk or to the park.
However you choose to do it, putting yourself out there and getting yourself out of your comfort zone can go a long way toward improving your overall health and well-being at all ages, but especially later in life. Humans are designed for social connection, this is something that you need to feed throughout your life. If you neglect to expose yourself to these types of interactions, you are depriving yourself of a necessity that your body and mind require.
Social interactions and connections play a vital role in our lives and are important for helping us maintain proper mental and physical health throughout our lives. This becomes even more necessary as we age. Many older adults have seen their social lives fade as they have aged and loved ones have passed. Consistent social interactions play an essential role in our physical and mental health. One way that seniors can look to meet more people is through senior living facilities.
Landmark Senior Living is one assisted living facility in Boston that will not only offer residents access to a number of social events and activities to help them remain social seniors but can provide patients with the care that they require at this stage in their life. Landmark is here to help, if you are interested in learning more about what Landmark can offer your loved one, please visit our website and reach out to schedule a complimentary walkthrough of one of our facilities.