How Important is Socializing to Aging Seniors?

I came across an old article that I had read and decided it worthy of re-posting. Although, you may feel that you are not ready to make the transition to a CCRC or an Assisted Living community. I have seen first hand the benefits of these communities specifically for individuals who have been living alone for years after the loss of a spouse.  Truly, the frown turns upside down and with a mind set to meet new people they soon have standing dinners, shopping trips and are signed up for a trip to the theater or the even the casino. I have encountered a group of smiles, laughter and friends dressed up and who were quick to tell me of their planned trip for the day or evening. This article specifically speaks about the benefits of socialization.
As people age, socializing must rank right up there with diet and exercise on the ladder of importance.  When a spouse dies or an aging senior becomes ill, sometimes family and friends withdraw simply because the person no longer fits into their lifestyle. Instead of keeping busy and finding new friends, many seniors often become depressed because of their growing loneliness. Unfortunately, loneliness can lead to other problems such as alcoholism, heart disease, or even cancer.

When my mother died after a long illness, Dad started going to the Senior Center the very next week. Not to meet anyone, he was never interested in finding another companion or spouse, but just to have others to talk to. Fortunately, he reconnected with a former neighbor whose wife passed away a number of years ago, and they still continue to eat together on their Senior Center days.

Socializing can extend years to a senior’s life

Experts say that seniors who enjoy an active social life often extend their lives by years. There are an abundance of benefits for socializing other than life extension; stress reduction, a feeling of importance, and a feeling of high self esteem are just a few of the benefits.

Often, seniors must make an effort to become involved rather than waiting for someone to come to them. Getting involved in the community or joining other organizations soon after a spouse’s death can mean the difference in seniors wallowing in self-pity or enjoying a healthy mix of friendships and outside activities.

Attending church, joining clubs and making or nurturing old friendships takes effort, but the benefits are enormous.

Find others that share the same interests

Being around people who have the same interests will help a senior enjoy life even more. Sharing old memories and creating new ones are the best medicine to keep someone from focusing on the negative side of life.

Joining an activity that’s new or challenging, such as dancing classes, are especially helpful for seniors because they are able to participate in an activity while meeting new friends.

Socializing is as good for you as exercise

A recent research study from Harvard University advocates that socializing for seniors has as many benefits as regular exercise. Having a job, whether paid or volunteer, is also an important and valuable way that seniors can socialize. Feeling needed and helpful is extremely important to the elderly person and can make all the difference in his or her life.

Human contact can help prolong our life

Most of us rely on human contact for our very survival, unlike other species in the animal kingdom. From the time we are born, we depend on our mother and father to feed and take care of us. In our later years we may need to depend on others to drive us to the grocery store or take us to a doctor’s appointment. Throughout most of our life we find we must depend on other human beings in one way or another.

It’s not surprising that as we age socializing with others becomes more important than ever. We need all types of stimulation, including contact with others who share our interests and opinions. Getting out and socializing with others is the best medicine we can take in order to live a fulfilled life in our senior years.

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