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The Importance of Socialization in the Aging Process

July 23rd, 2012

There are so many things to be considered in the healthy aging process.
Most people are aware of and attentive to medical issues, such as blood pressure, diabetes, and fall prevention.
However, something that we tend to forget about is the importance of socialization in the aging process.
That really is a shame because socialization is such a primal need for people and unfortunately it is easy to become increasingly isolated in the aging process.
As you age, isolation may become an increasing part of your life with retirement from work, children moving away from home, limited mobility and transportation, and death of friends and family members.
Carolina Moore posted an article in 2010 about "Healthy Aging:
What Role Does Socialization Play?"
You can click on the link to view the full article, but here is a small excerpt on the benefits of socialization:

"Socialization plays a large role in maintaining quality of life as
one ages. Research has shown that those older adults, who have strong
social networks, seem to have a higher quality of life, live longer and
are healthier compared to those with little social support (Glass,
Mendes de Leon, Marottolie & Berkman, 1999). Also, studies have
shown that strong social support seems to protect against cognitive
decline and self-reported disability (Mendes de Leon, Glass, &
Berkman, 2003). The "use-it or lose it" theory seems to be true—social
engagement may stimulate multiple body systems including the cognitive,
cardiovascular, and neuromuscular systems.

Social engagement also
seems to be an active coping strategy as well as reinforcing life long
patterns of connections to other people and resources (Barnas, Pollina,
& Cummings, 1991)."

The Seniors Digest identified 8 scientifically supported benefits to socialization.
They will be outlined below but you can click here to see the full article.

  1. Stronger immune system
  2. Moderated blood pressure
  3. Improved brain health and memory
  4. Physical activity
  5. Reduced depression
  6. Reduced impact of chronic pain
  7. Improved nutritional intake
  8. Improvement in our primary relationships (such as marriage and family)

Now that you know the benefits of having an active social life during the aging process, how can you pursue one?
One option is to purposefully pursue the social relationships that you currently have and invest more time in those relationships.
Another option is to explore opportunities for clubs/groups of people with similar interests such as church groups, interests groups like a knitting or gardening based group, or explore websites focused on building social relationships such as MeetUp.com.

In Northwest Arkansas, we are also especially lucky because we have a very active and thriving Senior Activity Center network.
The Senior Activity Centers are located in many cities across Northwest Arkansas, are offered at no cost, provide a lunch time meal, and offer activities to Senior Adults in the area.
Get more detailed information at the Senior Services Website.

Thank you so much for reading!
I hope this information will encourage you to invest in social relationships as they really do add to someone's quality of life.
Have a great week Northwest Arkansas!

Topics: Senior Care