Your age doesn’t matter much – in truth, all people, regardless of how old they are, benefit from social interaction. We’re not made to be solitary creatures at any point in our lives, and we function the best when we’re a part of a bigger community.
But what kind of benefits are specific to seniors? This article aims to answer that question for you. Whether you’re a senior yourself or simply someone looking to help their family member have a more active social life, we’ll tell you everything you can expect to happen if you expand your circle of friends.
We’ll also include a few tips on how to make new friends, retain old relationships, and simply become more social in your senior years.
Social interaction improves your cognitive powers
According to the American Association of Retired Persons, simple and frequent social interaction can lower the risk of developing cognitive problems and keep you sharp well into the old age. The interaction doesn’t have to be anything complex – simply going out to meet friends for lunch once a week can be enough to keep you mentally alert and stimulated.
This kind of practice is particularly helpful for people who are predisposed to develop Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other type of cognitive impairment. Since social interaction pushes us to use our cognitive prowess, you’ll be exercising the parts of your brain that might be vulnerable to mental diseases. This can keep your brain strong, alert, and entirely focused.
Social interaction introduces you to new experiences
Prejudice often makes us believe that when old age comes, fun experiences stop happening and our life becomes monotone. This is absolutely not true, and keeping your social life active can show you just that.
This is especially true for those who live in quality residential aged care facilities because good institutions tend to organize all sorts of events to help seniors socialize among themselves. Don’t think that your time has passed – meeting new people, attending gatherings, and organizing events of your own is certainly not out of your reach and they can keep your life vibrant and fun.
Social interaction helps you stay physically active
Exercising might not be as easy for you as it used to be, but it’s still important. Having close friends and family members can actually help you maintain good activity levels for your age. It will give you opportunities to, for example, run after your grandkids or take long walks in the park on a regular basis.
It will also make it easier to get organized for a senior fitness class. There are plenty of yoga, tai chi, pilates, and similar classes that are aimed specifically at seniors. If you bring a friend with you, you won’t have any trouble attending the classes regularly.
Social interaction keeps you happy
Depression is fairly common in older adults. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a necessary part of ageing that you simply have to accept – it’s treatable, it’s fixable, and you can get better. Socializing with other people is a good way to keep depression away because being around others tends to make us feel less lonely and ease our worries.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of depression (such as sadness, fatigue, irritability, and trouble with sleeping) you should contact your doctor and ask for help. Exercise and medication can help treat it, and so can surrounding yourself with the support of your loved ones.
Social interaction can improve your health
Adults who stay social in their old age tend to live longer, according to studies. To tie this into our previous points: having friends can help you stay more physically active and reduce the amount of stress you feel, and these kinds of little things can contribute a lot to your life span.
Ideas on how to stay social
We realize that simply telling you to go out and make friends might be easier said than done. That’s why we wanted to include a few ideas that might help you socialize effortlessly. Here are some of them:
- Organize board game events in your home.
- Take up a new hobby.
- Join a dating website.
- Join a class to learn a new skill.
- Volunteer in your community.
- Look for senior programs in your community.
It doesn’t take much to meet new people, and you should never be ashamed of wanting to get involved with more activities. Another good way to enjoy it is to keep in contact with your family members – while it’s understandable if you can’t meet frequently, this doesn’t mean that they don’t love you and that they want to spend time with you. Give them a call whenever you want to hear their voice and let them know you miss them.
Most of the time, the biggest obstacle to socialization is the fear that we’re too old to be interesting or that it’s too late to meet new people and enjoy fun activities. None of this is true. Keeping people close is now more important than ever, and there are plenty of opportunities to keep your life just as vibrant as before.