As we age, it often becomes increasingly difficult to stay as socially engaged as we once were. There are plenty of reasons for this. For example, in the senior years, illness or other physical limitations often play a role in keeping us home more. Lack of transportation can also impair mobility. After retirement, we lose much of the socialization that came from being in the workplace. And the older we get, the more likely it is that friends and family have moved away, and even passed away.
While it’s common to hear about how important it is for seniors to remain physically active, there are also many benefits to seniors of staying socially active. Take a look at some of these below, and then, when you need idea for staying engaged (or helping an aging loved one to do so), head over to our post on ways for seniors to stay socially active.
Reasons for Seniors to Stay Socially Engaged
- Social activity helps keep up a good mood, positive outlook, self-esteem, and emotional health, reducing the risk of depression, which is a common concern for lonely seniors.
- One of the most compelling benefits to seniors of staying socially active is that it helps prevent cognitive decline, and even reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
- Getting out of the home to be socially active often increases physical activity too, which of course also benefits physical, mental, and emotional health in many ways.
- Social engagement is a powerful way to manage stress and anxiety. And this is one reason it’s also good for lowering blood pressure.
- Higher levels of social engagement are associated with improved immune system function. This means faster healing and recuperation from injuries and illness, and better disease prevention.
- Being socially active helps reduce insomnia and promotes more restful sleep. In particular, feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression can significantly interfere with sleep.
- One of the more overlooked benefits to seniors of staying socially active is that they tend to eat more and make better food choices when they share meals with others. This boosts nutrition and provides the fuel necessary for continued physical activity and social engagement.
- Overall, remaining socially active in the senior years increases longevity. All of its benefits promote a happier, healthier—and yes, longer—life.