According to the National Institute of Aging, about 28% of older adults, or over 13.8 million Americans, live alone. There is nothing wrong with wanting to keep being independent, but when you realize that you are withdrawing from society, you need to make some changes in your life. Older adults who live alone are specially at risk of developing social conditions such as social isolation and depression. Whereas older adults with a fulfilling social life tend to be better off physically, emotionally, and mentally. As such, socializing should always stay an important part of anyone’s life. In this article, we discuss the benefits of socializing after retirement and why you should do it.
Older adults who are active in socializing are able to handle stress better. This is because they have others to look to when they are in a negative mood. They can easily vent to a friend about the current situation they are dealing with and feel much better after getting the load off their chest. Furthermore, reduced stress is associated with an improved cardiovascular health and immune system.
With an active social network, older adults tend to be more encouraged to engage in exercise and fitness. One reason for this is that emotional support is a vital aspect in helping one to begin or maintain an exercise routine. When you feel like skipping on your daily stroll, you can talk about it with someone who will cheer you on to do it. Another reason is that social activities tend to require people to be active. Even a simple trip to the museum will cause one to stay on their feet and walk all around to see the exhibits, which is a form of exercise even if you are not consciously aware of it.
Reduces Risk of Depression and Anxiety
Constant socializing with others can significantly reduce the likelihood that older adults will develop social-related mental conditions like depression and anxiety. This is because with socialization, older adults will be less likely to experience loneliness and isolation and be emotionally and mentally healthier. Even socializing on social media has a similar effect. In a study with over 3,400 participants aged 67 and above and lives alone, 7% less people reported symptoms of depression when they use social media compared to those who did not.
Surrounding yourself with family and friends can help improve your self-esteem and sense of worth. Essentially, you have built a strong social support system that enjoys your company as much as you enjoy theirs. Being able to talk to others and seeing how much they like being with you can be a tremendous ego booster as it allows you to affirm that you are a great person.
Improves Cognitive Health
Consistent positive social interactions can help keep older adults intellectually engaged and mentally sharp. Having your brain stimulated is great for preventing cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Research have shown that those who a large social network was 26% less likely to develop memory-related problems and those who had daily social interactions reduces their risk of cognitive decline by almost half. Keeping your friends around you can keep you smart.