Gathering around the table to share a meal with family, enjoying an afternoon walk-and-talk with friends, or playing with your grandchildren are all special moments to treasure.
You know the joy you experience but just how important is it to create and maintain these strong social relationships as you grow older?
According to researchers, it’s essential. Not only are there benefits to both physical and cognitive health, these interactions might also add years to your life.
The health and wellness of seniors
A report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine revealed that more than one-third of adults over the age of 45 felt lonely. Nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older were considered socially isolated.
Other findings that influenced the health and wellness of seniors included:
- Social isolation significantly increased a person’s risk of premature death from all causes.
- The impact of social isolation created similar risks to a person’s health as smoking, obesity and physical inactivity.
- Research has found that those with close social ties but unhealthy lifestyles actually lived longer than those who practiced healthy living but who lacked social interaction.
- Social isolation was associated with a 50% increased risk of developing dementia.
- Poor social relationships were associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.
Advantages of social interaction on the health and wellness of seniors
According to the American Public Health Association, socialization is an effective way for seniors to improve their mental health, mood, cognition, memory recall and may even result in older adults participating in healthy behaviors, including exercise.
The connection between being socially active and the health and wellness of seniors has been well documented. The following summary illustrates its impact on both an individual’s physical and cognitive health.
Several different studies have found social interaction can result in the following advantages for the health and wellness of seniors:
- Reduced risk of high blood pressure
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease
- Reduced risk of developing infectious illnesses
- Reduced risk of developing certain cancers
- Reduced risk of dementia
- Lower instances of depression
- Improved sense of meaning and purpose
- Lower levels of anxiety
- Greater empathy and trust toward others
Tips to boost the health and wellness of seniors through social interaction
As we grow older, it’s important to be aware that the risk of becoming isolated increases. We may live alone or experience limiting chronic illnesses. It may also become more of a challenge to participate in activities with others if there are mobility or transportation issues. We might also have experienced the loss of family members or friends.
Follow these tips to increase your level of social interaction:
- Look for opportunities for meeting others and companionship
- Go where the activities are – take a class or join an exercise group
- Use email, online chat forums and face-to-face calls to connect with others
- Join a club or support group
- Adopt or spend time with pets as they make wonderful companions
- Search for transportation options to assist in participating in activities
Two bonus tips that can improve the health and wellness of seniors
1. Broaden your sources of healthy socialization
A study published in The Journals of Gerontology found older adults who interacted with those beyond their usual social circle of family and close friends benefited from higher levels of physical activity, experiencing more positive moods and fewer negative feelings.
Those participating in the study who had more variety in their social interactions were found to be less sedentary. Why? Scientists believe that older adults may be less active when spending time with close friends and family as more time is spent watching television or sitting and talking. When spending time with others, they typically needed to leave the house and became more active.
2. Consider the benefits of a senior living community
If you are looking for opportunities to socially interact, you may be surprised at how the health and wellness of seniors are prioritized with all the possibilities provided in a community.
You’ll discover a wide variety of on-site monthly activities to choose from, making it even simpler to meet your neighbors and other residents. Whether it’s at a social event, enjoying the amenities, dining or even crossing paths in the common areas, making friends couldn’t be easier. With similar life experiences and the spirit of adventure, you’ll soon find out how much you have in common with your new companions.
Retirement living in Waukegan, Illinois
Galloway Senior Living, locally owned and operated, provides luxury and quality care for families in our community.
Assisted Living at Galloway Senior Living offers beautiful and contemporary private residences that range from alcove studios to two-bedrooms and include high-end stainless-steel appliances, maple hardwood cabinets, cultured marble countertops and thoughtfully curated décor and colors.
Our Memory Care community offers a family kitchen, dining room, walking garden, and lounge.
Our services include:
- 24-hour certified nursing assistants, on-staff licensed nurses, medication management, and on-site physician visits
- COVID-19 safety protocols
- Assistance with daily tasks
- Readily available safe transportation
- A fall-reduction program
- In-unit emergency response systems including an electronic monitoring system for exit doors
- On-site entertainment and activities personalized to reflect the residents’ preferences
- Housekeeping and linen services including personal laundry
Amenities you’ll find at Galloway Senior Living include:
- Country Café and Convenience Store
- Salon and Spa
- Theater with 85″ television
- Activity and Craft Center
- Game Room
- Library and Business Center
- Fitness Center
If you or your family is considering retirement living in Wadsworth, Illinois, we hope you will visit our community at Galloway Senior Living. We are a trusted resource and are here to answer any questions.