Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
Mariah Busch, Wellness Coordinator
Click here to watch the WZZM13 Senior Wellness segment on this topic.
As we age, social interaction is crucial to our health and wellbeing. As years pass we may find ourselves becoming less involved or lacking interest in activities. In order to maintain a socially healthy lifestyle, we need to have opportunities to stay actively engaged from a social perspective.
We become isolated because:
- We lose the ability to drive.
Driving is important to an independent lifestyle. Losing the ability to transport yourself, not only limits the places you can go, but also could create a greater reliance on other people. The inability to drive can limit the chances for us to visit friends or family, attend social gatherings, or even visit our favorite places
- Taking care of a spouse, who becomes ill.
Many times when a spouse or loved one becomes ill, we find ourselves doing everything we can to help them. Often the caregiver then becomes homebound and loses the ability to engage in social interaction.
- The loss of friends and family.
As we age, our friends and family do too. When friends pass, or family moves away, our social interactions may also reduce. The number of social contacts decrease, and which can cause us to become less engaged in our social circles. Distance plus the lack of transportation can leave us homebound with very little interaction, and create a state of depression and loneliness.
The lack of socialization increases risks of loneliness, depression, and lack of physically activity. This also results in a decreased life span.
Ways to improve socialization an increase longevity:
- Volunteer in the community.
Volunteering in the community provides a purpose and motivation to stay involved. There are many organizations looking for older adult volunteers. Positions are available that match the needs and interests of older adults.
- Join a group!
At Porter Hills there are many opportunities to join a committee and help decide what goes on in the community and how to improve specific areas. This is also possible in the community at large. Become active in gym, church, gardening groups, or other organizations of interest.
- Stay Active! If able, it is so important to find a chance for activity in each day.
At Porter Hills there are many different classes to stay active, including fitness classes led by residents! Do what you can, don’t focus on what you can’t do.
By maintaining a social lifestyle as we age, we can increase our cognitive function, and decrease our chances of Alzheimer’s. By creating a social circle, older we strengthen our support network, increasing our quality of life, and we are able to live longer and healthier than compared to those with little social support.