As we age, friendships may become more difficult to maintain. Even so, a strong social network is essential for good physical, mental, and emotional health, especially for seniors.
Learn more about why staying connected to others is key to a fulfilling life and get tips for staying social at any age.
Health Benefits of Socializing for Seniors
Interacting with other people and forming strong relationships is important as we grow older. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs shows how critical a sense of social belonging is to our overall health and well-being.
According to a study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Adults who are more socially connected are healthier and live longer than their more isolated peers.”
Data from another study suggests that people with worse health habits but stronger social ties lived longer than people with healthy overall habits but poor social connections.
Finally, a survey conducted by the National Council on Aging, in cooperation with United Healthcare, found that a majority of seniors consider remaining close to friends and family a greater concern than financial independence. It’s clear that most people already understand the importance of social connections.
Tips for Staying Social
Socializing can be broadly defined as interacting with others. But as we age, there are a variety of reasons this may become difficult. They include things like limited mobility, friends and family who no longer live nearby, and changing lifestyles.
Still, there are plenty of ways you can try to broaden your social network and stay engaged with the community around you. Read on to find ideas for social engagement that fit your hobbies and interests.
- Organize a club. To gather friends together more regularly, why not form your own club? It needn’t be formal - it can be as simple as a standing meeting to get together for coffee or discuss a favorite book.
- Join a group. If maintaining a club sounds like a chore, look for an existing group you can join. Check places like your local library, senior center, or place of worship for a list of available activities.
- Volunteer. Serving others provides value for both parties. Volunteering can range from helping at a soup kitchen to shelving books at the library to making handmade goods for donation. There are plenty of organizations that need volunteers - search for opportunities that match your skills and interests.
- Be a friend to make a friend. Don’t forget that taking a genuine interest in other people’s lives is the way to build and maintain good friendships. Keeping notes on things like important events can help you remember and celebrate special moments with your friends.
- Schedule regular calls or visits with family or friends. Even if your friends and family members no longer live in the area, there are still plenty of opportunities to stay in touch with them. See if you can choose a regular time, like Tuesday evenings, for a phone call, or plan ahead for an in-person visit to look forward to.
Find More Health and Wellness Tips
Staying socially connected is just one piece of the wellness puzzle. For more news and advice on improving your physical, mental, and emotional health, visit The Bristal blog.