As we become older, almost every part of our lives will change. Our loved ones may move away, friends may pass on, and certain health issues may make it difficult to completely enjoy our pastimes. Many of life’s events can eventually begin to take their toll on us if we don’t have a strong support system of friends and family in place. This can lead to a downward spiral of loneliness and isolation.
Seniors and Social Wellness
Social wellness is one of the eight dimensions of wellness, which also include physical, intellectual, emotional, environmental, occupational, financial, and spiritual wellness.
The term “social wellness” refers to how we interact with people and the relationships we have. It involves building supportive, healthy and nurturing relationships and connecting to those around you. It’s important for people of all ages to stay socially active, as it is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining good relationships, especially as you age, will have a significant impact on all the other dimensions of wellness. In fact, a senior who has great social interactions may even be able to live independently longer, learn new skills, viewing things from different perspectives, and see how others effectively manage the challenges of aging.
The Health Benefits of Staying Socially Active
- Mental Health Boost: Consistent contact with friends can help maintain good emotional health, which means reducing stress and lowering the risk of depression and even improve cognitive function of the brain.
- Improved Physical Health: Consistent socialization can lower blood pressure, boost the immune system and natural improve physical performed due to social relationships requiring much of said physical activity. You may be getting together with a workout buddy, walking group or joining friends on the golf course.
- Improved Self Care: Older adults as they grow older may tend to be less conscientious of themselves when they are alone, but frequent interactions and meetings with others can motivate them to take better care of their appearance and overall health.
- Increased Longevity: Some studies have shown that those who are connected to others even live a longer, happier life. This is due to the fact that friends can help you deal with the stresses of life and help you through some of the most difficult parts, and will also encourage you to live well.
- Provides A Sense Of Belonging: Social activities not only help you stay connected to those you care about most, but they can give you a feeling of belonging. Finding engaging ways to spend time with others allows you to build a support system. Additionally, these relationships provide a sense of purpose to your days.
Activities for Social Wellness
It’s important for seniors to find ways to stay connected with their peers and the world around them to give them a true sense of belonging and personal enrichment. Seniors can consider getting involved in a variety of ways, whether it’s setting up a regular coffee or lunch meeting with friends, hosting a game night at home for other residents and neighbours, walks in the park, volunteer opportunities at a school, non-profit or civic group, community, offering to babysit grandchildren, or even adopt a furry friend to fill the time alone.
But why stop there? Why not try pursuing a new pastime like arts and music, continuing your education pursuits, or going on field trips and excursions like backpacking? The possibilities are endless!
At the end of the day, it’s important to find a social activity you enjoy and make those connections with others to live a full, enriching lifestyle regardless of your age.