It’s Healthy to Be Social
Do you ever feel lonely? Do you wish you had more social connections? Do you ever long to get out more and be with family or friends? You’re not alone.
A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) reveals that more than one-third of adults aged 45 and older feel lonely. Moreover, nearly one fourth of adults aged 65 and up are socially isolated. In other words, growing older often means growing lonelier.
Loneliness is linked to some hazardous health conditions. The NASEM study points out that social isolation significantly increases one’s risk of premature death from all causes. It’s also associated with a 50% increased risk of dementia, a 29% increased risk of heart disease, and a 32% increased risk of stroke. What’s more, loneliness also puts you at risk for depression and anxiety.
People are social animals
Having high-quality social relationships can help us live healthier lives. A strong social life has been linked with many health benefits, including less risk of depression and a longer life span.
A 2019 study in the Journals of Gerontology found that older adults who interacted with people beyond their usual social circle of family and close friends were more likely to have higher levels of physical activity, more positive moods, and fewer negative feelings.
Tips for living a socially active life
People are living longer than ever before, and seniors are the fastest-growing demographic in America. Retirement isn’t the end of the road, it’s the beginning of a new chapter. Here are some ideas on how you can stay socially engaged.
1. Get a Hobby
Now that you have more time on your hands, why not take up a new interest, or rediscover an old one? There’s painting, photography, gardening, travelling…so many options.
2. Become a Volunteer
Volunteering offers an opportunity to help out in your community, meet new people, and make positive change. Imagine how good that will make you feel.
3. Get Your Game On
Playing games is one of the best ways to socialize and keep your mind sharp. Tennis, pickleball, golf, bowling, daily crossword, Sudoku, anyone?
4. Keep Learning
An active mind is less susceptible to age-related cognitive decline. When you take a class at a university, community college, or local organization, you can gain new knowledge and new social contacts.
5. Join a Senior Center
Your local community senior center is the perfect place to participate in new activities and make new connections. In this social club setting, you’ll find classes, activities, day trips, and more.
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