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The Importance of Staying Social As You Age

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After retirement, many people find themselves around others less and less. Maybe you’ve started secluding yourself or have a family member in mind. Once you’ve spent many months or years inside, with little socialization, getting out to interact with others can be a very daunting task, especially if you are going to a new place for the first time. But studies show isolating ourselves as we age can hurt our quality of life, our health, and our mind.

Researchers at Stanford University have discovered a positive relationship between overall well-being and frequent social interaction. As Dr. Emma Seppala says, “Social connectedness generates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional and physical well-being.”

Quality of life

Think back to some of your most enjoyable moments. Did it involve watching an old western movie with loved ones? Were you baking with your children? Or maybe you were attending a concert. Whatever your case, you should continue to do things that make you happy. As they say, life is what you make of it, and a well-lived life is one filled with enjoyable experiences.

Participating in these events also increases the chance of making new friends with similar interests. As you attend social engagements, whether it is joining a book club or attending an art class, you will notice a significant change in your willingness to get moving. Your mood will change as you begin to meet new people. As a bonus, the folks you will meet are most likely in comparable situations as you and could use a friend.

Health benefits

Studies have shown that an active social life is good for your health. Staying social can boost one’s immune system, reduce physical pain, and lower blood pressure. Staying active and stimulating the brain, along with personal interaction, help to improve one’s state of mind significantly.

As we age, we often face significant life changes that can increase the risk for depression and cause people to feel isolated. Interacting with others boosts your self-esteem and self-confidence while keeping your mind clear and crisp.

Why senior living might be right for you

If you find that you are living in a big house and think it is time to downsize, or if you’re looking to live amongst people in similar situations, a senior living community may be in your best interest. Senior living communities often utilize a community calendar of social events such as movie showings, respected guest speakers, musical performances, and holiday celebrations.

Even something as simple as gathering together for dinner in the dining room can encourage socialization. Immersing yourself in an environment where meaningful conversations occur among residents will lead to new friendships.

Moving to an unfamiliar place can be intimidating, but once you’re settled in and get into a groove, getting out of your room will become easier. Becoming outgoing, and meeting new friends, will help you begin to feel better about yourself and your outlook on life.

You may need a bit of gentle encouragement or some time to get more socially involved. That’s okay. It is common to have trouble adjusting to change; however, an active social life has meaningful long-term benefits.