Key Takeaways:

Positive socialization may look different from person to person, but the holistic benefits of social connections are universally true. For more on mind enrichment, better health, and activities for every life stage, start your journey with us on GetSetUp.

Although there is a common belief that seniors are likely to live with family or in assisted living centers, Pew Research has recent data that shows this is not the case in the United States. In fact, compared to the rest of the world, the U.S. has the most number of older adults living alone. While, economically speaking, experts say this indicates a more financially stable lifestyle, independent living also has its pitfalls. Most notably, living solo can severely impact an older adult’s social connections. In your golden years, the importance of socializing cannot be overlooked, especially considering its many benefits for the elderly quality of life.

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Boosts Physical and Cognitive Functions

Without socialization, many people often default to an isolated, sedentary, and stimuli-free lifestyle. Though this may seem more acceptable for seniors ‚Äútaking it easy,‚ÄĚ this can easily lead to many health complications. According to The Conversation, such health complications can include high blood pressure, increased risk of mortality, dementia, and cognitive decline. It also increases one's risk of heart disease and Alzheimer‚Äôs by 29% and 20%. And these are the two of the most common senior ailments, according to the National Council on Aging. Inversely, when seniors are satisfied with their socializing, they are better able to ward off stressors, which improves brain health, survival rates, and recovery following trauma or injury.

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Improves Mental Wellness

In mental health discussions, seniors are often overlooked. Because they aren't vocal about this topic, many of their mental health issues go untreated. For example, many seniors struggle with depression. According to SymptomFind, which has resources on mental health conditions, some of the common warning signs of depression are irritability, tearfulness, changes in appetite, and cognitive dissonance. Unfortunately, because these are also symptoms of age-related illnesses, mental health disorders in seniors are often misdiagnosed. The same source also indicates that depression may be triggered by medications, loss of a loved one, illness, or disability‚ÄĒmany of which are experienced by the elderly. However, when seniors have a solid social circle, they are much more engaged and able to process their negative emotions. A recent study even shows that socializing can improve seniors‚Äô self-esteem and empathy. Moreover, socializing ensures that there are people monitoring for any symptoms that may otherwise go unnoticed.

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Makes You Feel Happy and Fulfilled

Everyone wants to feel a sense of belonging and purpose. Seniors are no different. When seniors regularly socialize‚ÄĒespecially in groups or activities‚ÄĒthey are less prone to feel ‚Äúover the hill‚ÄĚ or left behind. This is why a good number of seniors and assisted living communities are taking part in volunteer programs and outreach initiatives. The Bureau of Labor Statistics even shares that 25% of all volunteers are senior citizens. Volunteering, as explained in our previous post ‚ÄėGrow Happier And Gain Purpose Through Volunteering‚Äô, improves your overall well-being and life satisfaction. Further data even shows that frequent volunteers exhibited a continuous increase in happiness. For the elderly, joining such activities not only shows them that they‚Äôre contributing members of society, but also broadens their social circle.
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Decreases Chances of Elder Abuse

Globally, about 1 in 6 people aged 60 and older have experienced some form of abuse just within the last year. Fact sheets from the World Health Organization (WHO), say that rates of elder abuse are, sadly, rising during the COVID-19 pandemic. In elders, abuse can increase the chances of death three times over and cost up to $36.5 billion a year. When seniors are socially active, on the other hand, abusers are more likely to be reported, red flags can be noted by third parties, and would-be wrongdoers are deterred.

Just because you plan on enjoying peace and quiet in your older years, doesn’t mean you have to be left alone. Positive socialization may look different from person to person, but the holistic benefits of social connections are universally true.

For more on mind enrichment, better health, and activities for every life stage, start your journey with us on GetSetUp.

May 20, 2022
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Caregiving
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