As we age, it's especially important to stay socially engaged. Whether that means joining a book club, taking up a new hobby, or spending time with family and friends, social engagement can help improve our mental and physical health and overall quality of life.
Senior social engagement is especially important for those who live alone or have limited mobility. In this article, we'll explore the benefits of social engagement for seniors and offer tips on staying socially engaged as you age.
It Reduces Loneliness And Isolation
One of the most significant benefits of social engagement for seniors is that it helps reduce loneliness and isolation. When we're isolated, we can start to feel like we're not part of the world anymore, which can lead to depression.
But when we're socially engaged, we feel connected to others and like we're part of something larger. This sense of connection can help reduce anxiety and depression.
It Stimulates The Mind
As we get older, it's easy to become isolated and withdrawn, leading to mental decline.
Social activities help to counteract that effect as they keep the mind active and engaged. They can help stave off dementia and other cognitive declines through conversation, problem-solving, and other forms of mental exercise.
So, whether playing cards with friends, going for walks with a group, or taking a class, social activities help keep us mentally sharp. Click here to see the kinds of activities we provide at Stonehenge Senior Living to keep our seniors stimulated!
It Improves Physical Health
According to a University of Michigan study, socially engaged seniors are less likely to develop chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
They also have a reduced risk of developing high blood pressure and arthritis. In addition, socially engaged seniors are more likely to recover from illness and injury more quickly than those who are not socially engaged.
The social interaction and stimulation that come from being engaged with others can help keep the mind and body active, which can help prevent these chronic conditions from developing.
It Increases Happiness And Life Satisfaction
A recent study found that seniors' social engagement is a significant predictor of happiness and life satisfaction. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia, looked at data from over 6,000 seniors aged 65 and over.
The findings showed that seniors who reported higher levels of social engagement were more likely to be satisfied with their lives and report higher levels of happiness.
The study's lead author, Dr. Laura Funk, said that the findings highlight the importance of social engagement for seniors' well-being. "Our findings suggest that social engagement is important to seniors' happiness and life satisfaction," she said. "This is especially important as we know that social isolation and loneliness are increasing in our society."
The study's authors say that the findings underscore the need for policies and programs to support seniors' social engagement. They say such initiatives could help improve the quality of life for older adults and promote their overall well-being.
The Link Between Social Engagement and Longevity
A growing body of evidence suggests social engagement is linked to longevity. A study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that seniors who were socially engaged were more likely to live longer than those who were not.
The study looked at a group of 1,500 seniors over the course of 10 years and found that those who were socially engaged had a 32% lower risk of death than those who were not.
While the study did not focus on the reason why social engagement might be linked to longevity, it is possible that it has to do with the fact that social engagement helps keep seniors mentally and physically active.
Additionally, social engagement has been linked to other health benefits, such as lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of dementia. Therefore, seniors must find ways to stay socially engaged while improving their health and extending their lives.
It Improves Emotional Well-Being
Social engagement has been linked to better emotional well-being in seniors. A study published in the Journal of Gerontology found that socially engaged seniors had better self-esteem, less depression, and fewer anxiety symptoms.
The study also found that social engagement was associated with a sense of purpose in life. Seniors who were socially engaged were more likely to feel that their lives had meaning and purpose.
Another study found that seniors' social engagement was associated with better cognitive function. The study found that seniors who were socially engaged had better memory and executive function.
It Can Give You A Sense Of Purpose
As we age, staying social and engaged with the world is essential. Doing so can help prevent isolation and loneliness, which lead to depression, as we have seen.
Social engagement can also give you a sense of purpose. If you're retired, for example, you may not have the same sense of purpose you did when you were working. But if you stay social and engaged, you can find other things to focus on, like doing some volunteer work or spending time with family and friends.
It Can Help To Improve Sleep Quality.
Social engagement can help to improve sleep quality for seniors. A study found that people with regular social contact were more likely to have better sleep quality.
Senior social engagement can help to improve sleep quality. A study published in the journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that seniors who participated in social activities slept better than those who did not.
The study found that social engagement was associated with an increase in slow-wave sleep, which is the deep, restorative sleep crucial for overall health.
Social engagement can also help reduce stress and anxiety, further improving sleep quality.