Social interactions are vital for humans, just like food or sleep. The loss of social contact affects not only your mood but also your well-being. Feelings of loneliness lead to the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Psychological consequences include mental disorders and the progression of neurodegenerative diseases.
Broken mirror: aging and social interaction
The paradox is that the number of social connections decreases with aging. However, the need for socialization remains at the same level. Family concerns and work limit free time, forcing you to narrow the circle of friends. In advanced years, we discover that our children have moved and friends have passed away.
Meanwhile, physical illness and dementia cut off remaining social contacts and prevent the creation of new ones. In this case, lots of free time is usually devoted to disappointing thoughts. Thoughts about one’s inadequacy appear, and self-esteem decreases. The inability to benefit society drives one into a cold sweat.
The long-awaited deserved rest turns into painful torture. But here is another way! A large meta-analytic study found a 50% reduction in the mortality risk among older people with adequate social life! So, below, you will learn the best ways to establish the skill of social connection in aging.
Ways to achieve elderly social well-being
Building social connections requires thoughtful planning. Before developing a behavioral strategy, it is worth determining:
- problems preventing communication,
- level of need for communication,
- leisure preferences,
- goals and required breadth of social interactions,
The brain has incredible compensatory potential, which implies normal functioning when impaired. Social contacts provide the feeling of being in demand, which mobilizes the body and mind. Modern medicine can help compensate for sensory impairments. It is time to move on to the most important thing: where should we look for productive socialization?
Volunteering as a path to well-being in later years
Helping those in need deserves respect and gives a feeling of being needed in society. You can start small:
- feeding street cats,
- caring for flowers in the local area,
- treating your neighbors to meals.
This way, you can find friends among your neighbors, leading to visiting each other later.
An organized volunteer movement provides valuable time in a circle of like-minded people. The concept of volunteering is close to responsible and kind people. It is easy to find many topics for communication with them.
New hobbies: communications and personal growth
Plenty of time in retirement opens up new perspectives and opportunities to catch up. Taking on a hobby relaxes and brings harmony, and new skills restore neuroplasticity. People with similar interests are a great way to build senior relationships. You can find a company for further communication:
- at the handicraft circle,
- Art history courses,
- in a book club,
- dance evenings,
- board games club.
Traveling: socialization away from routine
Traveling is a great way to bring a group together and establish communication. Retirement is the age for exploring new experiences away from depressing everyday life. Progressive older people can save a lot on travel by booking a comfortable vehicle in advance in a convenient car rental app.
Virtual travel is available for seniors with disabilities. Many museums have created detailed virtual reality projects. Plenty of video games will help you forget boredom. Team video games are great for bringing people of all ages together over a distance.
Help centers: for those who are left behind
It is common for children to forget about their elderly parents in the eternal work overload. Calls and meetings are happening less and less often. What to do if poor health prevents you from leading an active social life? What to do in the lack of material resources?
Single pensioners can call the volunteer center hotline. They will be heard there and get a responsible representative. Regular telephone conversations and visits will help restore social contacts.
Social connections in aging are essential for physical and mental well-being. Therefore, it is necessary to take the time to look for opportunities for productive communication in old age. For example, group travel is a great way to refresh your thinking and make friends. To travel around the country, you can gather a team of friends and look for profitable van rental options in the USA. Group travel van rental will save money on transportation, and all passengers will be comfortable in the spacious cabin. See the possibilities of renting a vehicle in more detail in the useful source.