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Power of Social Engagement for Seniors

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Social engagement is an extremely important component for healthy aging. Senior citizens face obstacles staying socially engaged as they age. Seniors find their social circles shrinking for many reasons; retirement, illness, and friends retiring to different locations are just some the reasons for smaller social circles as we age. Social interaction can provide positive benefits mentally and physically.

Enjoying the company of others who have similar views helps give a sense of belonging. Participating in community activities will can give seniors a sense of purpose and boost self-esteem. Elderly people worry about being a burden; getting involved in community activities gives them positive engagement with other people. Socializing is key to keeping the brain sharp; an active social life encourages us to continue learning and observing the world around us. Research suggests that social interaction decreases cognitive decline and is tied to mental health in seniors. Getting involved in social activities with others also encourages seniors to keep up with self-care. Social events that the senior looks forward to encourages them to care more about their appearance. Being in the habit of getting dressed and getting out brings a positive state of mind.

So much is said about purposeful living. As we age, we must seek new ways to interact and build new relationships, having a sense of purpose, somewhere to go, something to do or people to see helps to give a reason to get up in the morning. With the world around seniors shrinking it is important to become proactive socially. Some great ideas to promote social interaction include volunteering for local organizations, take advantage of community programs for seniors, visiting friends or family, and social media. More and more seniors are finding social interaction on sites such as Facebook where they can chat and see pictures of friends near and far.

No matter how we choose to socialize as we age, there is no doubt there are many benefits of social interaction.

Staff Writer, Deirdre Conboy-Mariotti, RN BSN