Seniors and Socialization

independentMaintaining social connections throughout every stage of life is important—especially for seniors. In fact, experts say having healthy, fun, and positive friendships and social outlets as we age is vital to our emotional and physical health.

And having social connections may also extend your lifespan. In a 2010 study (conducted by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a psychologist at Brigham Young University in Utah) concludes that people with strong social relationships can increase their chance of survival, over a certain time period, by 50 percent. In addition, the study says that being lonely and isolated can be as bad for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic.

Due to their spouses and friends passing away, seniors can become especially vulnerable to social isolation—a contributing factor to depression and anxiety in the elderly. After the loss of a loved one, it may seem easier to simply stay home then go out and talk to other people.

However, having a cup of coffee at your local diner, talking to the cashier at the grocery story, or reading at the library can have a beneficial effect on your health. Furthermore, a research study (conducted by Rush University Medical Center) has found that how many places we go throughout the day—from our home to the dry cleaner, a restaurant, or a friend’s house—can reduce our risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease as we age.


– Make an effort to maintain your social schedule, especially after the loss of a spouse/partner. Check-in on regularly with phone calls to family and friends. Don’t miss a grandchild’s birthday party or sporting event. Have coffee or lunch with a friend.

– Volunteer at a local elementary school, senior center, women’s shelter or your local park district. A 2013 report published by BioMedCentral (United Kingdom) says volunteering may be associated with lower rates of depression, increased well-being, and a 22 percent reduction in the risk of dying.

– Join a church or synagogue. Attend weekly services and join smaller groups to meet more people.

– Learn to use the internet to stay connected to family and friends across the country. Become adept at using social media (Facebook, Instagram) to stay engaged in friend’s lives.

– Take a class and develop a new skill. Check the activity schedule of your local park district and sign-up for an adult class (quilting, Digital photography, salsa dancing, senior fitness/yoga classes, meditation.)
– Move to an independent senior or assisted living facility. You will find immediate social contact with other seniors and enjoy a  variety of fun activities and trips scheduled everyday of the month.



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