You may not get out as much as you used to. You were once a social butterfly, dashing from one engagement to the next. Since you retired, though, your social life has slowed down.
People who maintain strong social connections to others tend to live longer and suffer fewer age-related conditions. Improving your social life can benefit your physical and mental health.
Benefits of social health
Social interaction provides a variety of health benefits in older adults. Relationships and interactions, for example, can potentially reduce the risk for cardiovascular problems, some types of cancer, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Social interactions may also diminish your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, depression and other mental health issues. Interacting with others lowers blood pressure, whereas social isolation tends to raise blood pressure.
Social isolation increases your risk for feeling lonely and depressed; you might begin to eat poorly and avoid exercise. High blood pressure, poor nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle, and a negative change to your mental status create a greater risk for death.
Improving your social health
Even if you are no longer working, you can still improve your social health. Volunteer in your community, visit friends in a senior living facility, join a group, take a class, or sign up for a fitness class. Schedule regular visits with family – especially grandchildren – and seek out new ways to stay connected to them.
Maintaining good social health is as important as keeping your body and mind sharp while you age. Reach out to your friends, families, and in-home care providers to remain the social butterfly you have always been.