“Connections with other people affect not only the quality of our lives but also our survival.” -Dean Ornish
When you retire, you can take time to do some of those things that you saved for after your career. You may devote more time to family and travel, or you may decide downsizing and simplifying is your priority. Some seniors choose to live in a Life Plan community to enjoy the many amenities available and afford them peace of mind if their health declines down the road. One significant feature of community living can play a key role in overall health and wellbeing: social interaction for seniors.
Fact, not Fiction
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) indicates that a strong positive correlation exists between social interaction and wellness. Not only can socialization improve quality of life, but it can also lessen the impact of inflammation on body systems, boost memory, reduce high blood pressure, and improve depression and anxiety symptoms. Social interaction for seniors has been shown to encourage healthy habits, including less smoking and regular exercise. Evidence also suggests that longevity may be due as much to socialization as it is to good health. These factors make a strong argument in support of not just living in a community, but participating actively with others.
There Is no “I” in Team
Aging can be a challenge for people who have difficulty embracing this stage of life and its many possibilities for happiness and fulfillment. Retirement is a change, and some people equate it with boredom. Living alone without a strong support system can compound the negative aspects of aging. Isolation can be a health risk for seniors, especially those who do not live in a communal or residential setting.
Loneliness and isolation has also been linked to:
- Increased levels of stress
- Depressed immune function
- Cognitive decline
Seniors who stay in their homes may experience limitations on socialization because of a lack of transportation, physical impairment, a loss of close friends, and even distance from family members. Many cities and towns try to address these concerns by offering senior centers and programming, but without a solution to some of the other issues, access to activities can still be inadequate.
All Hands on Deck
Social interaction can do more than occupy time; it also addresses the bigger picture that adds to overall quality of life. Many seniors find themselves with a lifetime of skills but no outlet in which to exercise them. Through volunteering and other community-based activities, seniors can put their knowledge to use to help others and find a place of value for themselves. This proactive involvement lends a sense of purpose and meaning to retirement years as seniors become connected to those around them in a deeper way than entertainment or recreation alone may provide.
Embrace the Possibilities
At Galloway Ridge, programming is varied and extensive to appeal to many different interests as well as ability levels. Fitness and health care are readily accessible on-site for the convenience of our residents, and every month sees multiple avenues toward cultural and intellectual enrichment. We also offer opportunities within our area to interact with the larger community through volunteering, outings, and other activities.
In our community, social interaction for seniors is varied and frequently enhance the lives of our residents. Please check our monthly calendar or ask us about what events are on the schedule that may appeal to you. Who knows, you may develop a new passion and make new friends at the same time?