The difference between a life filled with meaning and contentment and one of loneliness and isolation is often our ability to spend time with friends and family. However, this can sometimes become more of a challenge as we grow older. It’s essential that we find possibilities to interact and connect meaningfully with others.
Why social interaction for older adults is important
Not only do friendships bring joy into our lives, they also deliver physical and mental health benefits as well. These can include increased longevity and a reduced risk of depression, cognitive decline, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.
Research also discovered a lower risk of developing dementia for those who spent time with friends almost daily when compared to those who only saw one or two friends every couple of months.
Activities that encourage social interaction for older adults
There are several activities that provide opportunities to socialize. If you or your parents’ pastimes tend to be more solitary, the key is to add one or two that requires others to participate. Consider these ideas to help get you started:
- Participate in a group hobby
Cultivate a hobby you would enjoy that also provides socialization. A few suggestions include joining a book or discussion club, a bowling league or membership at a golf club. Even individual pursuits such as painting or sculpting can be social if you practice them with others.
- Plan regular get-togethers with family and friends
In today’s busy world, it’s important to prioritize quality time to spend together. Everyone will enjoy the benefit so put it on the schedule. Make a commitment to connect with others regularly, whether it’s once a week or month to have lunch, catch up over coffee or to take a walk in the park.
Choose your favorite cause or organization and sign up to give of your time and talents. Not only will you be helping others, you’ll also benefit from getting to know the volunteers in your group. Sharing a passion helps people connect and make friends easier.
- Join a travel club
Are you an avid traveler or have you always wanted to be? If so, this is a great opportunity to visit distant lands or see the sites across the country with others. Joining a travel club may provide companions to share your adventures with, as well as discounts and social get-togethers.
- Take a class
Is there a topic or subject you always wanted to learn about but never had the time? Well, now you do. Consider signing up for a class at your local college or community center. Not only will you further your education, you’ll meet others who share the same interests.
- Join a gym or exercise class
Classes and gyms offer not only the health benefits of getting into shape but the opportunity to be social as well. Invite friends to join you or sign up for a class at your local senior center or gym. Not only will you have more fun exercising with friends, research shows you’ll likely stick with the routine longer.
- Go dancing
Remember, exercising isn’t limited to calisthenics, stair machines and treadmills. Find other activities that provide great physical movement and fun, such as a dance club, playing tennis or pickleball. They are all fun options that require teams or partners and give you the chance to be social.
- Get together on-line
Being social doesn’t mean it has to be face-to-face. Join others on one of your favorite social media sites. You can reconnect with old friends, look up those you knew from high school or join groups whose focus includes your interests. Sharing stories of your life’s pathway is a great way to connect with others.
How a senior living community supports social interaction
We know how important it is to create strong relationships but it isn’t always easy when we grow older. We may have lost a friend or family member. If we have mobility issues or no longer drive, we may find ourselves more isolated. It can be more difficult to plan regular activities and we may instead spend more time at home alone.
A recent study found that older adults who interacted with others outside of their usual circle of family and friends tended to increase their activities, experience more positive moods and have fewer negative feelings, according to Harvard University’s health blog.
The research suggested that when we’re with our families or closest friends we might be more sedentary, but with others we may engage and become more active.
Senior living communities offer many benefits of course, but one of the most essential is the opportunity residents have to remain active and meet and make new friends. Activities and social events are provided and there are always others to share in your interests.
Life at Tapestry Senior Living communities
Social interaction plays a major role in our health as we grow older but the opportunities often become limited. If you or a family member is becoming isolated or would like to engage more, we invite you to visit one of our Tapestry Senior Living communities.
Where you live can make all the difference in your efforts to age well and live an enriched and full life.
Along with maintenance-free living, you’ll enjoy spending time on what brings you the most joy, such as:
- Remaining meaningfully engaged
- Making friends and sharing your life experiences
- Participating in educational, informative and fun activities
- Enjoying an active social life with others
- Belonging to a larger community
We understand that choosing the right community is an important decision and we are here to answer any questions that you may have. We also invite you to download our complimentary guide – Family Decision Toolkit: How to choose the right senior living community.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a personal tour, please contact one of our advisors at a community near you.