If the fountain of youth exists, it may very well be found within your social circles. Turns out, socially active seniors have a lower risk for Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease as well as some forms of cancer and even a lower death rate that those who don’t maintain social connections according to the National Institute on Aging. So, how should the over 55 set stay connected at a time in their life when it may be getting harder to do just that? We’re so glad you asked!
Four Ways to Create Better Social Connections When You’re Over 55
- Take advantage of technology – Nurturing existing relationships with friends and family is a great way to stay connected and technology is ideal in helping you to overcome barriers such as distance, mobility and/or lack of transportation. Plus, smartphones and tablets are more convenient than ever to use with large screens, voice capabilities and the ability to navigate by touch.
Ways to connect through technology:
- Video chat apps such as FaceTime or Skype
- Social media such as Facebook
If you need to learn:
- Ask your kids, grandkids and friends.
- See if your local senior center, public library, local university or local computer stores offer learning resources.
- Find tutorials and classes online through aarptek.org and techboomers.com.
- Watch for “How-To” events at local senior living communities.
- Try something new – Being over 55 is no excuse for letting yourself fall into a rut. Remember how invigorating it is to try something new? Yes, it’s another way to expand your social circles, but it also helps to increase your confidence and can give you a new perspective. If that’s not enough, research shows that brain health specifically benefits from staying both socially and cognitively active.
- Adopt a new hobby.
- Join a club.
- Take a cooking class.
- Join a walking group.
- Learn a new skill and/or new language.
- Challenge yourself to games with strategy.
- Learn how to play an instrument.
- Approach a familiar task in a different way.
- Find your cause – Volunteering not only introduces you to others with similar interests, it can also help you to find renewed purpose and offers the opportunity to give back in your local community.
Ways to get involved:
- See what causes your friends and family take part in.
- Check with senior living communities, who often partner with local organizations, to see what opportunities may be available.
- Connect with online volunteer matching services like VolunteerMatch which works with over 121,000 non-profits across the country and SeniorCorps which has programs such as Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions as well as opportunities that include tutoring, renovating homes, teaching English and assisting natural disaster victims.
- Connect spiritually – The ways we’ve discussed to connect so far benefit your mind and body, but what your spirit? Connecting in this way can be even more profound because while the body ages, the spirit can always grow and renew. If mobility and/or transportation, small print scripture or difficulty hearing the sermon have stood in the way of attending church, you do have options.
Making it happen:
- If you’re in senior living, check to see if your community can provide transportation to your church and/or if religious services are available onsite (many communities have these options).
- Participate in a bible study in your senior living community or with your neighbors at home.
- Go online; YouVersion offers an app and website where you can read and hear Bible scripture; it even offers reading plans.
Other ways to connect spiritually include:
- Positive thinking
For more information on how easy it is to stay socially connected in our senior living communities, contact us today to schedule a visit →