In today’s world dominated by electronic communication, it can be difficult to stay connected, and as we age, we can tend to be less social too. But socialization and time spent with family and friends has many benefits—so many that it’s definitely worth the effort to stay connected.
What can being social do for us? Here are a few examples:
- It can help improve our mental and emotional health. There are studies that show social seniors suffer less from depression and other mental health issues than those who aren’t as social.
- It can improve confidence and self-esteem. As people age and they experience reduced abilities, as we all do, they can suffer from decreased confidence and self-esteem. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Spending positive time with those whose company you enjoy can be confidence boosting.
- It can boost immunity along with other physical health benefits. Socialization can reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, all while making you feel happier and healthier too!
- It can help keep the brain healthy. A study at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that socialization is an important part of boosting cognitive function as people age. Having conversations and doing activities with others is an excellent way to exercise the brain and keep it agile.
- It can promote a sense of purpose. Spending time with others can help a senior feel useful and as if his or her life has a greater purpose. When one has something to do and somewhere to go—and someone counting on them—it feels good and makes life more fulfilling. And when others count on an individual, they are more likely to take care of themselves and do what needs to be done to stay healthy for as long as they can.
We know that sometimes it’s easier to stay home and read a book or watch TV. We all feel that way sometimes. And every so often, that’s okay. But when one makes the effort to spend time with friends, family, neighbors, and even strangers (who may become friends), he or she will reap the benefits for the body, mind, and soul.