Socialization Is Vital to Healthy Senior Living
As has been said, “A man cannot live on bread alone.” Human beings are inherently social animals, and isolation or lack of engagement can have a tremendous toll, not just on the mind, but on the body as well.
In this article, we’ll talk about why socialization is critically important to healthy senior living and how BridgeWater communities foster that sense of community and belonging.
Why Is Socialization So Important?
As human beings, we aren’t just creatures of flesh and blood. The things that make us human are our intelligence and our emotional capacity—our ability to think, reason, and feel empathy for others.
Consequently, loneliness can do far more than just make us feel sad. The physiological effects of emotions like loneliness and stress can be devastating in the long-term. These negative emotions can have real drawbacks, not just on our mental health, but on physical health as well.
Loneliness can be a serious threat to our health in multiple ways:
- It increases mortality risk by a similar amount to smoking cigarettes or obesity.
- It increases your risk of high blood pressure, developing heart disease, or having a stroke.
- It’s linked with mental illness, including cognitive decline, and can lead to suicide.
As you can see, being isolated and cut off from your fellow humans can have a real, and serious, negative effect on your well-being.
Many older individuals, who may find themselves struggling to get out and socialize as they did when younger, can be at a high risk of loneliness. Family may not live nearby, and they aren’t going out to bars like they might have once done.
Importance of Socialization to Healthy Senior Living
While loneliness can have a terrible effect on senior health, the opposite is also true: a healthy senior lifestyle is one that benefits from socialization. There are many tremendous health benefits of socialization:
- People with high levels of social engagement often have stronger immune systems, making them more likely to be able to avoid common causes of pneumonia, such as the flu.
- Socialization can improve mental health significantly, lowering stress (and all its associated health risks) and reducing your risk of suffering from depression.
- Older individuals who regularly socialize may have a lower risk of suffering from cognitive decline or developing dementia.
- When you socialize more, you’ll be happier and have a higher quality of life—and who doesn’t want that?
How Can Older Adults Get the Socialization They Need?
It can be challenging to find adequate levels of socialization when you’re not getting out and about like you did when you were younger. Here are some great ideas for older individuals looking for social engagement:
- Friends and family. The most reliable way to engage with others is to spend time with loved ones!
- Volunteering and mentoring. Mentorship and volunteering programs are a great way to get out of the house and meeting some new faces.
- Senior living communities. Senior living communities, like BridgeWater, offer great opportunities for people in their golden years to mingle and make new friends.
If you want to know more about BridgeWater and how we promote healthy senior living, please contact us today.