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Best Tips for Staying Socially Connected as You Age

Best Tips for Staying Socially Connected as You Age

It is easy to make friends when you’re younger. You meet people in a similar life stage or who share your interests at school, in the workplace, in your neighborhood, at church, on sports teams, or through hobbies and volunteering. Most of us don’t consider how these relationships benefit our health and well-being, but social connections can have a significant impact on our quality of life, mental health, and even physical health. 

As we age, we often must be more intentional about maintaining our relationships with others, especially in our retirement years when we might not be as active. Senior living communities like Solterra Senior Living communities in AZ and CO provide many services and amenities that encourage their residents to build a thriving social network.

This article discusses the multitude of benefits of staying socially connected as we age and offers tips for ways seniors can expand their social networks, including engaging in the community, using technology, enjoying hobbies, mentoring younger people, and taking advantage of senior living in AZ and other popular retirement destinations. 

Benefits of Social Connectedness for Seniors

We know that having friends makes us feel good, but are there measurable benefits to our well-being? Science says, “Yes.” Important and sometimes surprising mental, physical, and emotional benefits come from staying connected to others and developing a community.

Mental Benefits

According to Psychology Today, research shows that interacting with other people socially can directly modify our brains in positive ways. For example, it can activate neural circuits, which helps them stay flexible and healthy, and boost cognitive resilience, which can help combat mental stress and dementia.

Physical Benefits

Studies have shown that staying connected to others socially can help reduce the risks of serious illnesses like heart disease, stroke, dementia, and depression while also improving sleep, quality of life, life expectancy, and overall health.

Emotional Benefits

Some of the emotional benefits of social connections are obvious, from decreasing loneliness to increasing contentment. Other emotional benefits are just as significant, including reducing stress, improving self-confidence, instilling self-worth, combatting anxiety, supporting you through difficult life experiences, filling you with purpose and a sense of belonging, and encouraging you to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

Ways Seniors Can Expand Their Social Network

Given all the impressive benefits of staying connected socially, it’s clear that having a community shouldn’t stop after our kids leave home or we retire. There are several avenues that seniors can explore to expand their social network. The following are easily accessible and enjoyable ways to find people to share life with.

Get Active in Your Community

Find and join a group of interest. Libraries, local coffee shops, and community colleges often have bulletin boards where local groups can advertise things like groups or clubs for book discussions, gardening, birdwatching, pickleball, walking, etc. 

Look for volunteer opportunities. Charities and other organizations often need help that does not require training or expertise. Volunteering is a fulfilling way to give back and a great chance to meet like-minded people.

Most towns and cities hold community events like art fairs, seasonal parades, and cultural festivals. You can sign up to help, participate, or just attend. Going to museums, plays, or concerts in your community is another fun way to support local businesses and meet new people.

Exercise can be another healthy way to boost your mood, your wellness, and your relationships. Group exercise classes at a gym or recreational center might be just what you need to find your new walking partner. You don’t have to join a gym to reap the benefits of exercise, though. Walking in your neighborhood or taking your dog to the dog park will keep you active and allow you to interact with others.

Take Advantage of Technology

Technology makes staying in touch with family and friends easy, even when we don’t live near each other. FaceTime, Zoom, or other video call applications mean we can talk face-to-face with loved ones anywhere in the world. Social media is great for keeping in touch and staying up-to-date with those in our social circle, but it is also an excellent tool for finding groups of people who share similar interests. 

Pick Up a New Hobby

Do you knit? Are you a writer? Play guitar? Paint? Hobbies, both old and new, can be a point of instant connection with others. Recreational and community centers, community colleges, and even local stores often have classes or rent space to groups to engage in various hobbies. Sharpen your skills or pick up new ones with others who share your passion.

Nurture Intergenerational Relationships

You have a lifetime of wisdom and experience to offer younger generations, whether spending time with younger family members like grandchildren or mentoring young people through an organization or your place of worship. Pouring into another person can give you renewed purpose and fulfillment while creating lasting and meaningful emotional connections.

Explore Senior Living Options

Surrounding yourself with others in a similar stage of life can be both enjoyable and satisfying. Retirement communities, drop-in adult day care centers, independent living communities, and assisted living communities all provide a wealth of opportunities to meet new people and socialize. 

For instance, the independent and assisted living communities of Solterra Senior Living in AZ and CO offer a wide range of services and amenities like game nights in the game room or other common areas, movie nights in the media room, art classes, scheduled recreational and cultural outings with transportation provided, group exercise classes in the wellness center, a library with plenty of space for conversation and board games, and communal meals in the dining rooms. Our spacious, pet-friendly apartments also mean you’ll want to invite friends over to enjoy conversation over tea and a puzzle, talk about a good book, or have a doggy playdate. 

If you’re considering senior living in AZ, we would love for you to visit any of our beautiful communities in person. Contact us today to schedule a tour and explore living well at Solterra Senior Living.

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