Being social is fun, but did you also know that it’s important to your wellbeing? From an early age, social interaction and attention benefit our development, and as we age, these things are no less important. Check out the benefits and how to stay connected.
The Yin and Yang of Social Connection
Quite simply, it can be hard to maintain social connections later in life. We get it! Your go-to social circle may have dwindled, it can be harder to get out and/or you may feel there are just fewer social opportunities. But the rewards of the extra effort are so worth it with benefits that range from slower rate of memory decline to a strengthened immune system to lower rates of anxiety and depression to a lower mortality risk overall according to Psychology Today.
On the flip side, the AARP Foundation’s Connect2Affect initiative has labeled social isolation (being disconnected from family, friends, and community) as a “growing health epidemic” among older adults that can be as detrimental as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
How to Stay Connected
- Stay in Touch Even at a Distance – Technology such as Skype and FaceTime make it easy to overcome barriers such as distance to keep in touch with friends and family. If you’re not tech-savvy, ask your kids or grandkids to help or contact your local senior center, library, or university to see if they have classes – another way to connect!
- Do Something New – Break out of your routine and try a new hobby, join a club, learn a new skill, language, or musical instrument. Not only could you make new friends, but it’s also invigorating to find a new sense of purpose. Independent living communities such as SHAG offer an easy way to do this by providing monthly calendars filled with classes, events, and activities.
- Give Back – Volunteering allows you to be a part of something you believe in, as well as to connect with others who share similar interests. To get started, see what causes your friends and family may already be taking part in. You can also check online with volunteer matching services such as VolunteerMatch and SeniorCorps.
- Get Moving – We all know the health benefits of staying active, but it’s also a great excuse to connect with others. In fact, when two people strive towards the same—or similar—goal, both are more likely to achieve it. So make a pact with a buddy to get healthier this year and work toward it together by joining a gym, taking fitness classes, or walking regularly.
- Have Some Fun – A big part of connection is having fun, and there’s nothing more fun than a little friendly competition. Some good options here are to look into a local bridge group or bingo club. If transportation is an issue, you can play online games such as Words With Friends, which is similar to Scrabble or other multi-player games.
- Forget Age – Who says your friends all have to be your age? Look for local intergenerational programs that provide opportunities for different generations to connect and share experiences and knowledge. Many of our communities offer these programs and are built in locations that naturally provide opportunities for people of all ages to come together.
Now that you know the key don’t let anything hold you back you from living your best life!
For more information on how independent living in a SHAG community can make it easier to stay connected, contact us today.