Building and maintaining social relationships can have a huge impact on seniors’ overall wellness. Social activities are important for the elderly because they help ward off loneliness and prevent feelings of isolation. Organized social pursuits also provide a sense of purpose and give older adults something to look forward to regularly.
Here are a few of the benefits that come from staying socially engaged as an older adult:
Improved Cognitive Function
Social activities can help you stay mentally sharp. Research has revealed that people who maintain supportive relationships with family, friends, and neighbors have better overall mental health. A study in the American Journal of Public Health found that elderly women who enjoyed daily social contact with a large network of people had a significantly lower risk of developing cognitive impairments or dementia.
Seniors who feel stronger connections to other people have lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. The way you keep in touch matters, too: Face-to-face socializing has been shown to be more effective at staving off depression than communicating only by phone or email.
Better Physical Health
Research has demonstrated that socially integrated adults are less likely to be obese, experience inflammation, or develop high blood pressure. In fact, being socially isolated elevates older adults’ risk of developing high blood pressure even more than having diabetes.
People who maintain good social ties tend to live longer than those who don’t. A study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior noted that the risk of death among people with the fewest social connections was over twice as high as the risk among men and women with the greatest number of social connections.