The Importance of Socialization & Connection for Healthy Aging
It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself an introvert, an extrovert, or a combination of the two; we all need to socialize and connect with others. Studies have shown that forming meaningful relationships with friends, family members, and peers is key to healthy aging.
One Forbes article shared research that suggested that low social interaction or isolation is just as bad, or worse, for your health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day, alcoholism, never exercising, and obesity.
On some level, we all have a natural desire to connect with others. However, aging and changes in our lives can impact our opportunities for socializing. The good news is that there is a solution – senior living communities. As an independent senior living community in Corunna, Michigan, Fiddler’s Green is sharing the benefits of leading an active social life and how living in a community setting can help you stay connected to others.
The Benefits of Socialization
Promote Physical Activity
Exercise or physical activity of any kind is better than none at all, and socializing with others can encourage you to be more active. For example, simply leaving your home to meet a friend for lunch or walking down the hall to visit someone has more of an impact on healthy aging than sitting alone in your living room.
Additionally, friends, peers, and neighbors hold us more accountable for other activities. It is much easier to decide not to attend an exercise class if you plan to go alone. If you plan to meet a friend there, you are more likely to follow through.
Improve Self-Esteem & Provide a Sense of Purpose
The truth is, we care what other people think about us. While this may not be in the stereotypical sense, we all want to feel accepted. Socialization provides us with this acceptance. When you find and form connections with others, you boost your self-esteem and increase your sense of belonging.
Beyond belonging, we all strive to have a sense of purpose in our lives. This could include our careers, raising our families, or committing to a cause throughout life. For older adults, connecting and building meaningful relationships can help create this sense of purpose.
- When a friend asks for your advice, you feel useful.
- When you make plans with your friends, they are counting on you to be there.
These connections (while they may not seem significant) have a big impact on helping us feel like we belong and can help provide us with a sense of purpose.
Support Cognitive Functioning
Talking to someone is such a natural part of everyday life that we often do not realize how much effort goes into holding a conversation. First, we have to listen to what someone else is saying, then formulate an appropriate response while remembering what has previously been said. Though it seems like second nature, this takes a lot of brainpower.
Engaging the mind and keeping the brain active goes a long way in improving cognitive functioning and promoting brain health. Socialization is a natural way to do this. You are keeping your mind sharp by socializing and regularly engaging with others – without even realizing it!
Independent Senior Living Encourages Connection
As we age, factors such as retirement and changes in mobility can affect our opportunities for socialization and connection. When you live alone in a private residence, you are more limited to the types of interactions you have with others. On the contrary, living in an independent senior living community makes it convenient for you to socialize by offering endless opportunities right in the community!
The community setting that we cultivate at Fiddler’s Green provides our residents with meaningful interactions in all areas. From community dining options to planned social activities and events, individuals benefit from living in a supportive, friendly environment.
Socialization and connection are natural parts of life in our communities. We take the time to get to know each other and treat our residents and team members like family. If you are interested in learning more about how a community setting could benefit you or a loved one, reach out to a member of the Fiddler’s Green team!