Healthy Aging: Why Socialization Matter
Mike McClernonMay 17th, 2021
As the philosopher, Aristotle once wrote, “Man is by nature a social animal.” Humans are hard-wired to connect with others; we crave intimacy, connection, empathy, and even vulnerability. Even for people who might consider themselves introverted, this desire for companionship and socialization is evident at every stage of our lives.
Throughout our early lives, it’s easy, and almost necessary, to stay connected. You get invited to birthday parties; you live in a dorm building with your closest friends; you plan double dates and dinner parties with the families from your cul-de-sac. However, as we get older, it becomes more challenging to maintain this level of social connection. Moving, retirement, and health concerns all impede opportunities for socialization, leaving older adults at a higher risk for loneliness and isolation.
Assisted Living Locators of Long Island is sharing information on the importance of socialization for older adults and how Assisted Living and Memory Care Communities on Long Island can help provide opportunities and avenues for older adults to socialize.
Health Risks of Isolation
Many older adults live alone, and there are more risks to this than merely loneliness or boredom. Social isolation has been shown to directly impact physical health, putting individuals at risk for heart disease, dementia, depression, and a weakened immune system. These risks are why having social relationships and interacting with others is crucial for older adults’ overall health and well-being.
Benefits of Socialization
Older adults who regularly interact with others in a social setting tend to live more active, healthy, and fulfilling lives than those who live in isolation. Here are some specific ways that socialization can enhance physical and mental wellness. As you’ll notice, most are connected in some way!
Reduce stress. Older adults who have a strong support group tend to have less stress and manage it more effectively, leading to a plethora of health benefits, including an improved mood, a stronger immune system, and lower blood pressure.
Encourage physical activity. Socialization can inadvertently lead to more physical activity; for example, one of the easiest ways to spend time with someone is simply by going on a walk together! Exercise and activity can also produce endless physical health benefits for older adults.
Increase longevity. In addition to more specific health benefits, socializing with others can also simply support healthy aging and longevity.
Mental and Cognitive Benefits
Build confidence and self-esteem. Having a social circle where you feel accepted and valued can do wonders for personal self-esteem and confidence. This can also lead to reduced feelings of stress and anxiety.
Open your mind. Interacting with other people, especially if they are different from you in any way, is a great way to become more open-minded, accepting, and learn about new things.
How Assisted Living Communities Can Help
While it’s great to understand the value of socialization and just how crucial it is to healthy aging, it can be of little value unless you have sufficient avenues and opportunities to socialize. Older adults have always been at high risk of loneliness and isolation, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made that even worse by keeping everybody at home.
The advancement of technology has made virtual socialization easier than ever before. But while calling or video chatting with friends and family may allow for some connection, it can still be an isolating experience and provides little physical movement.
The most effective way to gain the benefits of socialization is to spend time around other people—engaging in hands-on activities and experiencing personal connections. One of the best places to do this is an Assisted Living and Memory Care Community. These communities are specifically designed to offset the loneliness and isolation that an adult living alone at home would experience by providing daily engagement, stimulation, and entertainment.
Most Assisted Living and Memory Care Communities provide a variety of daily social opportunities that focus on all aspects of healthy aging. Residents can choose how they want to spend their time—whether it’s continuing a life-long passion while meeting individuals with the same interests or branching out of their comfort zone and trying something new! Assisted Living and Memory Care Communities create an ideal environment for attaining the benefits of socialization, and this is on top of the professional and dedicated care provided!
Find Assisted Living on Long Island
If you’re worried about yourself or a family member being isolated and lonely, it could be time to consider assisted living. Assisted Living Locators of Long Island is a free Senior Living Placement service, helping Long Island families find the perfect Assisted Living Community for them. For more information on how our service works, we invite you to visit our website!