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Living Better, Together: 5 Ways Socializing Can Help Older Adults Thrive

Living Better, Together: 5 Ways Socializing Can Help Older Adults Thrive

Apr 25, 2023

Humans need connection and healthy relationships at every stage of life—our desire for companionship, love and support doesn’t diminish as we grow older. A well-rounded social life isn't only fundamental to our happiness and well-being, it’s essential to healthy aging. Here are some of the benefits of socialization for older adults.  

1. Reduced risk of depression and anxiety

“Loneliness, illness and isolation are experiences that are difficult to navigate, especially as we age,” said Donna Raziano, M.D., Medical Director at Inspira LIFE, who is ABIM certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine and Hospice & Palliative Care. “However, regular socialization can reduce your risk of developing depression or anxiety, improve your overall mood and boost your outlook on life.” 

2. Improved cognitive function

Socializing can help improve cognitive function, especially in older adults. According to a recent study, adults ages 70 to 90 had increased cognitive performance on tests measuring attention, processing speed and memory after more frequent, positive social interactions. Engaging with others provides mental stimulation and challenges that keep the brain active and healthy. 

3. Increased physical activity

Regular socialization often correlates with increased physical activity through group fitness pastimes such as walking, dancing or playing sports. “Regular exercise improves your physical health and also helps reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke,” said Dr. Raziano. “Interestingly enough, people whose social interactions are more varied tend to spend less time being sedentary.”   

4. Lower risk of chronic diseases

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), poor social ties in adults 50 and older are associated with an increased risk of heart disease by 29 percent and stroke by 32 percent. Connecting with others and socializing can help reduce stress levels, promote healthy behaviors and improve overall health outcomes.  

5. Improved immune system

Not socializing and loneliness have been linked to a weakened immune system, making older adults more susceptible to infections and sickness. Regular socialization can help boost the immune system, reducing the risk of illness. 

Finding connection

“It’s never too late to put focus and energy into your social life and experience the health benefits of doing so,” said Dr. Raziano. “Activities like regular socialization with friends and family, participating in community events, taking up a new hobby or joining a club can help foster positive relationships and promote good health.” 

Inspira LIFE is a comprehensive care program for older adults and their families that offers care, support and resources that enhance the overall quality of life. Learn more about Inspira LIFE

Inspira Health is a high reliability organization (HRO), which means safety is the top priority for patients and staff. To make an appointment, call 1-800-INSPIRA.

Topics: Senior Health, LIFE Program