Social Wellness: The Importance of Maintaining Relationships
In your younger years, building friendships was easy. You met others who shared your interests in school in your classes or extracurricular activities, for instance. When you entered the workforce, you met new people regularly and spent quality time with your co-workers. When you got married, bought a house and raised your family, other parents and your neighbors become close friends.
However, as you’ve grown older, you might find that meeting new people and making new friends isn’t as simple as it used to be. Perhaps you relocated after retirement, or friends and spouses have passed away. It’s common for seniors to become susceptible to isolation and loneliness, which are both associated with a myriad of health conditions, including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, difficulties sleeping and even dementia. This is why it’s so important not to neglect your social networks as you grow older, and that you make a conscious effort to continue to stay as socially active as possible.
The Benefits of Avoiding Social Isolation in Seniors
Studies show that seniors who avoid isolation by staying socially active experience a variety of health benefits, including:
- Improved physical health. When you’re more socially active, you’re usually more physically active, too. Additionally, when you enjoy meals with others you tend to eat more and make healthier food choices.
- Keep you sharp and mentally engaged. Social activities can improve cognitive function and memory, both important in preventing the onset Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
- Enhanced mood. When you stay connected to others, you feel more positive about life and your mood improves. This in turn helps ward off feelings of loneliness and depression.
- Get a better night’s sleep. Research shows that people who have more fulfilling relationships in their lives tend to sleep better than those who don’t. This is because when you’re feeling isolated and lonely, it can be difficult to sleep soundly through the night.
- Boosted immune system. Studies show that seniors who stay engaged with others and life around them have higher levels of immune-system functioning.
- Live a longer, happier life. Keeping your social circle strong can even increase your longevity. This can be linked to the increased physical and mental stimulation that seniors with more active social lives enjoy.
The Best Social Activities for Seniors
This spring, summer and beyond, improve your social wellness and enjoy all the health benefits mentioned above by finding ways to get involved with others regularly. Think about the activities you enjoy most and how you can add a social aspect to them. For instance, if you love gardening, join a local garden club or invite the grandkids over for a day of getting their hands dirty planting flowers with you.
A few other options to grow relationships and stay socially active include:
- Take a lifelong learning class. Not only does taking a class keep your brain engaged and improve your memory and cognition, but it also offers an opportunity for social interaction. The Moorings at Lewes has a partnership with the Osher Lifelong Learning Center to provide numerous ways for residents to enjoy intellectual and social interaction, extracurricular trips and more.
- Pick up a part-time job. Heading back to the workforce a few days a week allows you to not only make a little extra money every month, but also the opportunity to engage with others. You’ll build friendships with your co-workers and keep your brain stimulated, too.
- Volunteer your time. Whether it’s offering skills you’ve learned throughout your career, helping out a local hospital, or playing with the kittens at an animal shelter, volunteering can lead to a feeling of accomplishment and purpose while keeping you socially connected.
- Get physical in a senior fitness center. Find a workout buddy or a class you can attend with others at your local gym or senior fitness center. This helps ensure you’re staying in great physical condition while spending quality time with others.
- Reach out when you’re feeling lonely. Make a concerted effort to maintain your relationships on a daily or weekly basis to avoid social isolation. If you’re feeling lonely, isolated, or depressed, it’s as simple as calling friends or family to invite them out to lunch or over for coffee.
Live Well with Social Opportunities at The Moorings at Lewes
The Moorings at Lewes not only offers a variety of vibrant senior living options but also an engaging lifestyle to ensure you’re enjoying the highest level of social wellness possible. You’ll find a full calendar of social activities, an array of unique services and amenities, plus access to all that the charming Lewes area has to offer. Ready to learn more? Schedule a personal tour by contacting us today.