Social Well-Being for Older Adults
Social Well-Being for Older Adults - Staying Connected & Making Friends
While social engagement with others regardless of their age is important for people's health and well-being. It becomes most vital during a person's senior years. This is can be due to older adults and the elderly becoming more susceptible to social isolation than younger people. Recreation activities such as the CLM Legends program and gym can be important for older adults because having an active social life can help to prevent depression as well as types of dementia.
Also, intellectual stimulation will help to keep your mind sharp. Doing such activities as learning new knowledge and skills while also having fun make it easier to connect with others and help to ward off loneliness and feelings of isolation.
Organized social activities such as Legends classes can help to provide a sense of purpose and give older adults something to look forward to on a regular basis.
Some of the benefits that come from staying socially engaged are:
• Improved cognitive function - social activities can help individuals to stay mentally sharp. Adults who maintain supportive relationships with family, friends, and neighbours have better overall mental health than individuals that don’t.
• Reduced stress – older adults with stronger connections to other people can have lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. The way you keep in touch matters too. Face-to-face in-person socializing has been shown to be more effective at putting off and reducing depression than communicating only by phone, email or social media.
• Better physical health – studies have shown that socially integrated older adults are less likely to be obese or develop high blood pressure. Socially isolated adults can have a higher risk of older adults' developing high blood pressure more so than having diabetes.
• Increased longevity – older adults who maintain good social ties and relationships tend to live longer than those who do not. The Journal of Health and Social Behaviour had a study that noted the risk of death among older adults with the few social connections and relationships was over twice as high as the risk among older adults with more social connections and relationships.
Making new friends can be intimidating and stressful no matter what the age. Joining social groups, gym or other activities can help to reduce the stress and anxiety by having a common interest to connect over.
Some ways that you can increase your social group and make friends are:
• Volunteering – can become one of the most fun and meaningful activities you do as an older adult. This can be a way to get out of the house and meet new people while making a difference in your community. Volunteering can be as little like dog walking or helping/donating at an animal shelter through to helping at a rest home or hospital.
• Exercise classes - according to the World Health Organization, individuals over the age of 50 should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week. Joining up with a gym or program such as Legends close to you can be an easy way to not only meet that target but also help to bond with new people at the same time. A plus side to joining a gym is making friends to exercise with. Swimming, water aerobics, strength and balance, circuits, and chi gong classes offer low-impact ways to help boost your strength and flexibility, while also improving your balance and helping to prevent falls.