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How Social Connections Keep Seniors Healthy

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A group of seniors sitting around a table, eating and enjoying afternoon tea while smiling and chatting with each other

Strong social connections are more than just friendships—they are a way to stay healthy and vibrant long into our golden years. These social connections can help keep older adults healthy by lowering the risk of chronic illness, improving mental health, and slowing cognitive decline

This isn’t to say that social connections are the magic answer to a healthy life, but they are certainly part of it, just like maintaining a healthy weight or staying active can help keep our bodies and joints healthy.

Something that can make this easier for our older loved ones is finding a senior living community that supports social connection, whether with specific amenities or access to things like volunteering around town.

Social Connection & Senior Health

There are several ways that social connections can help keep us healthy and provide a good quality of life.

How Social Connection Is Related to Health

Social connectedness is more than having pleasant friendships to pass the time. Research links social connections to health benefits like a decreased risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease, stroke, or dementia and can reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.

The Cognitive Connection to Social Engagement

Staying socially connected can help keep the mind sharp. Socially active seniors often exhibit a decreased risk of dementia and cognitive decline compared to their more isolated counterparts. The daily mental gymnastics of conversation, advice, and camaraderie can act as a neural workout, keeping brains supple and strong.

Emotional Networks as Stress-Shields

Supportive relationships can protect against stress and help recover from unavoidable stressors in life. 

Friendly faces and listening ears can soften the emotional blow of life’s hardships, often preventing depression and anxiety. Feeling connected gives older adults stronger emotional well-being, helping them face challenges with the support of their community.

Encouraging Social Support for Seniors

How can we help our loved ones build these critical social connections? There are many ways to develop and maintain these essential ties.

Unite Over Common Interests

Encourage your loved one to join groups that cater to their passions, from gardening and book clubs to arts and crafts or hiking groups. These shared interests provide a sense of purpose and joy and can help facilitate the beginning of beautiful friendships.

Many of these hobbies and activities will do more than help with socialization. Many, like hiking or gardening, also provide excellent ways to stay physically active.

Volunteering as a Social Exchange

Volunteering is a social exercise that’s just as beneficial for the individual as it is for the community. Seniors can find fulfillment by donating their time to local causes, often finding like-minded individuals who share their giving spirit. They’ll also enjoy giving back to their community and making meaningful connections.

Digital Connection

Technology can be a tool for good in a world where pixels are as prevalent as people. Virtual connections can be made through social media platforms, video calls, or specialized apps. These digital forms of socialization can be especially beneficial for seniors with mobility issues or who have other reasons for not being able to “go out” and do things.

The learning curve may be large for someone without prior computer, tablet, or cell phone experience. So, patient instruction is crucial in giving them a helpful boost to a more technological future.

Reconnect with Old Friends

While senior living can be an excellent opportunity to make new friendships, there’s something special about connecting with old friends. Social media sites like Facebook make this more accessible than ever. But an older adult could consider going to reunions, giving them a chance to rekindle old friendships.

2 seniors with closed eyes practicing yoga and sitting on yoga mats

Encouraging a Rich Tapestry of Connections

Social connections are the sweet melodies that can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary in the grand symphony of life. Within every laugh shared, every moment savored, and every story told lies the power to enrich the quality of life for our cherished seniors. Encouraging these connections is something we can all do for our loved ones, ensuring their lives are filled with love, support, and companionship.

Call our compassionate team at The Legacy at Falcon Point to book a community tour. We’d love to show you and your loved one the community and how we can help facilitate a meaningful life filled with meaningful connections for a happy, healthy life.

Written by LifeWell

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