How Social Interaction Impacts Emotional Health
Age does not protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age.”
As we age, it’s not how we pass our time, but with whom. Developing and nurturing meaningful social relationships with other active adults is not a luxury. Beyond bringing smiles to our faces, social interaction at this stage of life is a critical component to our overall well being, especially essential to our emotional health. In fact, research over the years confirms that social relationships and group activities are the keys to successful aging and happiness.
Participating in social activities not only challenges us and helps sharpen our cognitive abilities, it also eliminates the single most serious threat to a senior’s mental and emotional health: Isolation.
Isolation can come on suddenly with the passing of a loved one or as children and grandchildren pursue out of town opportunities. It may be a gradual process that sneaks up on us as we transition out of daily employment and have more time on our hands.
Research suggests that chronic isolation and a higher frequency of a myriad of health issues, including depression, go hand in hand. Conversely, cultivating friendships and participating in activities and events with peers is not only life-enhancing but life-extending. Socially active older adults report stronger immune systems, better sleep, increased productivity and a more positive outlook on life.
Join the Club
Whether it’s joining a Zumba class, taking the plunge at water aerobics or signing up for a computer class, the key to meeting people and engaging in new relationships is to get out there and join a group. In addition to keeping participants active, the social connections will be enriching and uplifting.
Using your skills to help others is a great way to be both productive and social. If you are musical, teach lessons. Or volunteer for your favorite cause once a month. You will be rewarded with increased self-esteem as well as the opportunity to mix and mingle with others who share your interests.
Thanks to technology, the ability to reach out to people far away or those we knew when is at our fingertips. FaceTime with the grandkids or send a message to your old roommate from school. Interacting electronically can help mitigate loneliness and may also inspire you to get out and seek more hands-on, in-person experiences.
Socializing Made Easy
Often the problem is a living situation in which opportunities for socialization have become scarce. With time and change of circumstances for friends and neighbors, you may find your once-robust social circle has dwindled. The good news is there are active adult communities committed to providing the social outlet you seek. Designed specifically to support the physical and emotional health of the 55+ set, these upscale, state-of-the-art, resort-style complexes have unlimited options for keeping your mind, body and spirit active and nourished. Surrounded by a welcoming community, the social adjustment is easy and natural. By the time you unpack the boxes, your neighbors will be new friends.
Continue expanding your social world and the golden years will truly be golden.
**Feature image depicts actual Overture resident(s).