When you hear the words “healthy aging” you likely think about exercise, eating well, regular health checkups, and things like limiting alcohol consumption or quitting smoking. Most of us would never consider our social connections, or lack thereof, having any bearing on our health as we get older. But the reality is they have a big impact on both our mental and physical health. Here’s how social connection helps with healthy aging.
Benefits of Social Connection
As you might expect, having strong social connections as you age decreases your risk of anxiety and depression, according to the National Institute on Aging. However, there are physical benefits, too. The National Institute on Aging also states that those who have strong social connections have a lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, some forms of cancer, and even a lower death rate than those who don’t. Bottom line: social connection and healthy aging go hand in hand.
The Struggle to Stay Social
Maintaining social connections as you age isn’t as easy as it may seem. There are a number of reasons why you may have less opportunity to be social at this time in life including:
- Living alone
- Hearing/vision loss
- Limited mobility
- Limited transportation options
- Being a caregiver for someone with a serious condition
- Chronic health conditions
- Psychological or cognitive challenges
The good news is that it’s not necessarily the quantity of social connection you have, but rather it’s the quality that helps with healthy aging.
Tips for Creating and Maintaining Social Connection
Even though it may be more challenging, you can create and maintain social connections at any age. These tips can help:
- Make the most of technology – It’s easier than ever to overcome distance, lack of transportation, and even mobility challenges with FaceTime, Zoom, and Skype, or even a simple phone call to stay connected with friends and family. Make a point to get in touch with at least one of these people daily.
- Change up your daily routine – If your daily routine doesn’t involve much socialization, then consider doing something different, like starting a walking group or book club with the neighbors. Or, look at local clubs and classes that appeal to you.
- Get involved – Volunteering is not only a way to give back, but it’s also a great opportunity to meet people with similar interests as well. Other ways to get involved in your community can include attending local events, supporting local teams, joining a faith-based organization, serving on a local board, and even shopping locally can be opportunities to connect.
- Adopt a pet – Pets are wonderful companions at any age, and they also provide ample opportunity to connect with others, whether it’s at the dog park, cat café, or on walks through your neighborhood.
How Vitality’s Vibrant Connection Program Can Help with Healthy Aging
Should you still find it hard to stay social on your own, senior living communities like ours can help make it easier. In fact, that’s why we created Vibrant Connection as part of the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. To support our residents with healthy aging, we offer resident-led clubs, classes, social events, creative arts, and fitness and enrichment opportunities for any interest. All of which are conveniently available right outside your door (or transpiration is provided to offsite outings).
What’s more, you’ll enjoy amenities like a fitness center, pub, restaurant, beautiful grounds, and common areas perfect for spending time with neighbors, friends, and family. Not to mention we take care of chores like home maintenance and housekeeping for you, so you have more time to enjoy this social connection!
For more information about Vitality’s Vibrant Connection program, visit our Vivid Life webpage. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour and experience Vivid Life for yourself.