It almost sounds too good to be true, but it’s been proven that seniors who make it a priority to participate in social activities and stay connected with others are healthier, happier and live longer than those who don’t. In fact, studies have shown that isolation and loneliness pose health risks for older adults, including high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and cognitive decline.
Humans are social creatures and maintaining relationships and bonding with people through social activities are key for healthy aging and vibrant living, no matter our age. But for seniors especially, social wellness is crucial.
5 Benefits of Social Interaction for Seniors
Socializing and relationship building have several benefits for your mental, physical and emotional health. Here are five ways that social interaction improves seniors’ lives:
- Better physical health: Seniors who socialize tend to be more active, especially if they participate in activities that keep them moving. You’re more likely to exercise if you have someone to do it with you and motivate you to keep going. Socially active seniors also have stronger immune systems, making it easier to fight off colds and other illnesses.
- Improved emotional well-being: Loneliness can be contagious. Staying connected with others helps increase our sense of belonging and improves our overall outlook on life. When you’re around other people, you’re more likely to feel positive about the world around you, reducing your risk of depression and anxiety.
- Reduced risk of cognitive decline – Keeping your brain active and engaged can reduce your risk of developing a memory condition like dementia or Alzheimer’s. Simply enjoying conversations and having lively debates with your friends can keep your mind sharp and strengthen connections in your brain.
- A longer, happier life – Older adults can increase their lifespan by staying socially active. Unfortunately, loneliness can actually be fatal for seniors, while those who have a support system of friends, family and engaging activities are more likely to live longer than those who are isolated.
- Wards off boredom – Social activities add variety to your life, giving you something to look forward to so you won’t feel restless. A lively game night with friends is so much more interesting than sitting alone in front of the TV looking for something to bide your time. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a quiet night at home, but it’s important to find a healthy balance between socializing and too much alone time.