It turns out that social butterflies are onto something vital to our health and longevity.
Links to wide range of health issues
Research on social isolation shows links to declines in physical, emotional and cognitive health, and even longevity. As we age, our social network decreases for a variety of reasons – retirement, declining health of friends or a spouse, children who relocate for work, etc. Even with clubs, hobbies, and scheduled events, living alone can mean going for long stretches without sharing a laugh or having a conversation.
Research like this and my own experience at Asbury Solomons leads me to believe that social engagement is the critical factor to address to improve our chances for aging well – and happily!
It will come as no surprise that I am partial to the benefits of a continuing care retirement community. I have seen amazing turnarounds and heard inspiring stories from new residents who can’t believe how much their lives have changed for the better so quickly. The supports we offer for becoming and remaining engaged into our 80s and 90s are significant.
Tips for getting social
But here are a few pieces of advice for people regardless of where they live.
I like to say that to age well, you need the EPA on your side; engagement, purpose and attitude. And it is people who create engagement and purpose in our lives. If you have those two factors, the attitude will follow.