Aging well takes a fair amount of fortitude to remain active mentally and physically. Exercise and nutrition are key ingredients for staying healthy, but one area — socialization — is often overlooked even though experts agree it is also essential to a long and fulfilling life. Take a look at why socialization matters and ways to make it a priority and improve the health and wellness of seniors.
Retirement means more freedom and more time for fun, but it also can be the beginning of a time when relationships end and social activities begin to wane. Friends are left behind at work, or move or pass away, it becomes harder to get out to enjoy social pursuits, and eventually seniors can find themselves alone more often than not. As this happens, the health and wellness of seniors is compromised.
According to the greatergood.berkeley.edu article, “How Social Connections Keep Seniors Healthy,” one study of “social capital” found that more is better. The concept of social capital was created by American political scientist Robert D. Putnam and defined by him as “social networks and the norms of reciprocity associated with them.” The study by a researcher from the Drexel University School of Public Health surveyed almost 14,000 seniors and found that those who lived in areas with greater social capital enjoyed more mobility than those in areas with less social capital, helping them remain socially active.
Another study noted in the article also found significantly lower cognitive decline among seniors with dementia who socialized frequently as compared to a group with low social activity and a third study observed that even while statistically controlling for risk factors, seniors who have high levels of socialization are less likely to experience a disability as well as cognitive decline.
Find a niche
Many seniors realize they are missing out on the benefits of socialization but don’t know how to change. One way to improve the health and wellness of seniors is to help them find a niche like a club or other group that shares their interests. For example, bird watching groups, book clubs, photography clubs, senior travel groups, and other organized groups are a great way to meet new friends and share time with others on a regular schedule. A great way to locate these opportunities is on the local meetup.com site where seniors can pick and choose what suits them.
Giving back is something many feel is a great way to strengthen the health and wellness of seniors which makes volunteering a perfect solution. Whether that means helping out at a local adult literacy organization, pitching in at a nearby animal shelter, or even traveling to a place that can use a senior’s specific expertise, there is never a shortage of ways to help others. Among the many ways to locate organizations that need volunteers is through volunteermatch.org, AmeriCorps Seniors, Peace Corps or contact local charities, hospitals or churches for other opportunities.
The health and wellness of seniors can also be addressed through the social opportunities presented by life-long education. While life-long education offers extensive learning opportunities, it can also be a way to meet new people and forge friendships among peers with similar interests.
One of the largest life-long learning systems is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes which offers non-credit classes to adults age 50 and older at about 120 colleges and universities in the United States. Another great option is roadscholar.org which offers classes that include travel (around the world and online), lectures and performances, virtual museum tours, livestreams on wildlife and nature topics, and more. Seniors should also check local colleges and universities for lectures, classes and other senior-only opportunities that occur throughout the year. For a state-by-state look at more possibilities the ireviews.com article, “Best Lifelong Learning Resources for Seniors in Every State,” is a great resource for helping to maintain the health and wellness of seniors.
Perhaps the easiest way to preserve the health and wellness of seniors through socialization is to consider a move to a community like The Lodge at Stephens Lake. Our community is geared toward maintaining the most carefree and healthful lifestyle available, while providing the level of care each resident needs to remain safe, secure and independent. Every day residents have a full schedule of events and activities to choose from and can spend time with new friends and neighbors as well as with family and other visitors as they wish.
At The Lodge at Stephens Lake our resort-style community makes it simple and easy to socialize and have fun while we make the health and wellness of seniors our top priority. Take a minute to contact us today and schedule a tour of our luxury senior living community!