Spending more time alone and less time engaging in social situations tends to increase with age. This happens gradually as family members may become too busy and close friends experience similar restrictive conditions, such as a lack of energy, mobility limitations, and decreased health conditions. A diminishing social life for a senior can lead to social isolation, which may present dangerous health risks.
As older adults spend less time interacting with others, loneliness can turn into feelings of worthlessness and despair. Social isolation can also lead to poor emotional health and depression, high blood pressure, decreased physical health, and a greater risk of death.
Humans are social creatures and need nourishing interactions with others to maintain health. Socializing improves mood, increase sense of self-worth, and provides life purpose. These interactions can be as simple as lunch at a favorite restaurant, a quick shopping trip, a walk through the park, or an afternoon of playing board games or cards. Even a small event is meaningful and provides both physical and mental benefits.
Several benefits from retaining or discovering new social connections are:
- Stress reduction – Having social opportunities on the calendar may alleviate stress for older adults. Social opportunities with family and friends are also enjoyable times that allow older adults a chance to relax and have fun.
- Enhanced mental health – Participating in activities and interacting with others helps all people feel loved and needed. These feelings help older adults maintain a positive outlook on life and encourage them to take on the day.
- Sense of belonging and better self-esteem – Spending time with those who have similar interests enhances a sense of belonging. Socializing provides seniors the opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways to their community while boosting self-confidence.
- Improved physical health – When we have a positive outlook on life and are happy, our bodies produce chemicals that boost the immune system and help fight off illness. Not only can healthy social interactions stimulate a positive outlook, they can provide added benefits if physical activity is included as well, such as walking through the park, gardening, or shopping. Being happy and physically active can also help increase seniors’ appetites and encourage them to eat more nutritiously. All these physical benefits can lead to lower blood pressure, decreased risk of cardiovascular problems, and reduced risk of osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Increased cognitive functioning – Socializing with others helps keep the brain sharp. It encourages continued learning, observing, and responding to the others and the world around us. For older adults, it can potentially reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as the risk of mental illness.
- Accountability – Socialization provides reasons for older adults to stay well and helps foster a positive state of mind. When family and friends hold us accountable to meet for lunch or another social outing, it encourages us to maintain healthier habits and avoid developing habits of declining well-being.
- Purposeful living – Having somewhere to go, something meaningful to do, or people to see is motivation get out of the bed and excited to face the day. Living a purposeful life leads to greater fulfillment, in all areas of wellness.
One of the most valuable benefits of senior living is the wealth of daily socialization opportunities and the sense of community they provide. At Traditions Senior Living, there are a variety of social activities and amenities for residents to enjoy with others.
Whether it be shopping, outings, game nights, arts and crafts, wellness classes, movie nights, or simply shared meals, there is always an opportunity to socialize and cultivate new relationships for a fulfilling and enjoyable life.
Overall, the benefits of socialization lead to fulfillment of life for older adults.