The need for company, love, and support is not something that diminishes as we grow older. Healthy relationships and social life is particularly important for seniors. Consistent social interactions help keep people mentally, physically and emotionally fit and also fend off the difficulties inherent to isolation and make our lives feel more meaningful in an overall sense. Older adults with a fulfilling social life tend to avoid many of the physical, cognitive and emotional difficulties that seniors who are isolated encounter. There are a number of important ways that socialization can improve senior health:
- Reduced stress. Older adults who are socially active handle stress better. This leads to important increases in cardiovascular health and an improved immune system.
- Longer lifespan. High levels of socialization in seniors help increase longevity.
- More fitness. Older adults with diverse social supports are more likely to exercise regularly, which leads to a host of physical, mental and cognitive benefits.
- Reduced risk of depression. Consistent socialization reduces the likelihood that seniors will experience the depression caused by isolation and loneliness.
- Less anxiety. Similarly, senior socialization reduces levels of anxiety as well.
- Greater self-esteem. Socialization helps seniors maintain their self-esteem and sense of worth.
Just as importantly, socialization can provide a tremendous boost to a senior’s cognitive health as well. Positive social interactions on a consistent basis help keep seniors stimulated, mentally sharp and intellectually engaged. The improvements in these cognitive areas can help prevent general cognitive decline, including memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. When these social interactions include exercise groups, the benefits of both are increased significantly.