LiveSmart: Seniors Encouraged to Socialize for Good Health
[This article was written by Andrea Hebert, vice president for Eddy Senior Living, and executive director for The Glen at Hiland Meadows.]
How long has it been since you took the time to talk to your neighbor? Or spent an evening with friends? If you’ve been neglecting your social life, particularly if you are a senior, you may want to rethink your actions.
It turns out people – especially seniors – who seek out social situations are among the healthiest people in the world. Numerous studies have revealed that socially-isolated older adults are likely to be sicker and die earlier than their more social counterparts.
One major reason is the stimulating, give-and-take of personal relationships greatly reduces stress. Stress is known to release certain hormones that damage areas of the brain vital to memory and other intellectual functions. Hobbies and friends aren’t just good for relaxing, they’re also good for your health!
Social isolation also brings with it a financial price. A study by the AARP Public Policy Institute, Stanford University and Harvard University examined the impact of social isolation on health care spending among older adults. It found that a lack of social contacts among older adults is associated with an estimated $6.7 billion in additional Medicare spending annually. The study found that Medicare spent about $1,600 per year more on older adults who are socially isolated than those who are not.
So, what can you do to be more socially active?
Join a group. Many communities offer groups or have centers specifically tailored to seniors where older adults can socialize, engage in activities, start new hobbies, or attend organized group trips. Faith-based groups also offer excellent opportunities to make new friends.
Volunteer. Volunteering in your community provides a sense of accomplishment and purpose. Many hospitals, schools, community centers and animal shelters are always looking for reliable volunteers of all ages.
Enjoy lifelong learning opportunities. Many colleges offer classes designed specifically for seniors where you can continue to learn new things and expand your mind.
Join a gym. There you’ll meet other active seniors who are looking to stay healthy and physically fit.
Try out new technology. Don’t be leery of those computers and tablets! They provide the perfect way for you to connect via social media, email or Skype with friends or family who don’t live nearby.
Move to a senior community. Living in a senior community, like an Eddy Senior Living Community, offers many advantages and opportunities, including the chance to make new friends; group activities such as exercise and wellness programs; continued learning; and planned group trips to museums, plays or other special community events.
Regardless what social activity you choose, surrounding yourself with people may just be what the doctor ordered!
For more than 25 years, Eddy Senior Living has been the Capital Region’s trusted provider of high-quality senior independent living. Our independent living residences are maintenance-free and provide access to a wide array of life-enriching activities and amenities right outside your door. Our communities offer one- and two-bedroom apartments and cottages, with options and amenities to make your life safer, easier and better.
To learn more about any of our five independent senior living communities located throughout the Capital District, please call (518) 280-8385, or visit www.EddySeniorLiving.com.