As a person grows older, it can be harder to stay in touch with longtime friends, former colleagues or neighbors you once knew. But when it comes to senior health and wellness, staying connected and engaged with others may be the most important thing you can do to protect your health and even extend your life. It’s a key factor in successful aging.
The Proven Negative Effects of Isolation on Senior Health and Wellness
Feeling lonely or living without social connections is considered a serious health risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Even if a person has a great deal of social contact, but still feels alone or left out, that is the type of loneliness that has serious effects on their health.
- Social isolation and loneliness has been linked to higher risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.
- A study from University College London found that 60-year-olds who visited with friends almost daily were 12 percent less likely to develop dementia than those who only saw one or two friends every few months.
- Social isolation significantly increased a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.
Staying Social: A Smart Strategy for Enhancing Senior Health and Wellness
Sometimes it seems difficult to build and maintain a strong social network as you grow older. Friends pass away, you might become less active and thus don’t have as many opportunities to meet people. Or you just become too comfortable in doing the same things the same way.
But when you consider the impressive list of benefits to your mental and physical health, you can see why staying connected is vital to successful aging. Here are just some of the benefits to senior health and wellness, according to the American Public Health Association:
- Improved memory and mood
- Reduced risk of hypertension, some cancers, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis
- Enhanced self-esteem and less risk of depression
- A sense of purpose and belonging
- Better ability to fight off colds and flu
- Lower risk of dementia and cognitive decline (one study concluded that people with frequent social interaction had 70% less cognitive decline than those with low social interaction)
- All of the above can promote a longer lifespan
Another factor that might not immediately spring to mind when considering senior health and wellness but is of vital importance: living safely. According to Second Wind Movement, simply by living around others as an older adult, you are more likely to live safely. Not just because there is someone there to assist you, but you know you have a community of people to lean on for other needs.
In addition, the safer you feel, the more likely you are to remain active and engaged, all good for senior health and wellness.
A Senior Living Community Offers Multiple Opportunities for Socialization
St. Mark Village is one example of a vibrant senior living community that makes having a strong social network easy, thus enhancing senior health and wellness.
In a senior living community:
- You’ll find it easy to make new friends and build lasting relationships.
- You’re inspired by others to maintain healthy habits.
- You benefit from an environment designed for senior safety with the reassurance of 24/7 assistance if needed.
- You can return to the role of mother or grandmother and enjoy a positive relationship with your family, since they will no longer worry about you living alone.
- You will get the nutrition you need every day.
- You will be motivated by others to maintain healthy habits.
With plenty to do at St. Mark Village, and beyond in our charming neighborhood, you can choose to be as busy as you wish each and every day. Vibrant, active, and engaged in the present AND at peace with the future. Building a strong social network is easy here!
Relaxing and carefree, life in the Village inspires our residents to fill life with new opportunities, new friendships, and a variety of choices. Contact us or call 727-464-1750 today to connect with our friendly and knowledgeable counselors and learn why so many are proud to call St. Mark Village home.