No one needs to tell you about the benefits of staying physically active as you age. But what about staying socially active? Keeping connected to Friends? Family? Peers?
According to researchers at Harvard University, active seniors are much healthier and much happier – on every level – than their peers who are isolated and socially inactive. And let’s be honest, their more fun.
These same researchers have revealed that seniors with busy social calendars and a network of friends and family enjoy five major health benefits:
Slower rate of decline / decreased medical issues.
The Center for Advancing Health reported on research findings that showed older adults with high or medium levels of social engagement that increased over time developed limitations more slowly than seniors with low levels of engagement that declined over the years. For example, according to The Boston Globe, a North Carolina sociologist said, “Lack of social connections in old age is equivalent to having diabetes, in terms of increasing (just) hypertension.
Maintain a more positive outlook on the present and the future. Seniors who are isolated and not engaged with others are more susceptible to depression.
Sleep more soundly. Inadequate rest can lessen your ability to think clearly and sap your energy, among other things.
Function at an optimal cognitive level. Research shows a potential reduction of the risk for Alzheimer’s and related diseases. According to Psychology Today online, socially healthy seniors typically perform better on tests of memory and cognitive abilities.
Possess a more-robust immune system. Social engagement has been linked to a stronger immune system that can help seniors fight off minor ailments such as colds to major diseases such as cancer.
Five ways to up your social ante:
1. Join a group. Holland Home has bible study groups, choir groups and other opportunities to gather, worship and celebrate your spirituality; as well as a variety of other groups, clubs and committees where like-minded people pull together, socialize and spend time together.
2. Enroll in classes. Learn something new or revisit something you once loved.
3. Mentor and teach children or teens. Schools, churches and community centers rely on Holland Home Residents to connect with young people in need of direction, information, inspiration and wisdom.
4. Hit the gym and take the exercise class. Gather a group of your fellow active older adults. Water aerobics, walking, biking yoga… as Nike likes to say, Just Do It!
5. Start a club. You did it as a kid and you loved it. Do it again. Start a Club that focuses on something YOU want to do and then gather your own members. Watch a weekly baseball game together, start a billiard club, gather a group for a weekly wine tasting; it’s your club, you decide!
Holland Home is an ideal settings for making new acquaintances and engaging in all kinds of pursuits that you either put on hold over the years or are determined to try for the first time. Ask about the social wellness activities we already have in place, or ask about starting something entirely new.