Health & Wellness - April 15, 2022

Stay Connected: How Socialization Promotes Healthy Aging

It doesn’t matter if we consider ourselves introverts, extroverts or a combination of both; socialization and connection are essential throughout our lives. As children, we learn how to socialize and use those skills to build relationships, make friends and further our careers. As we get older, the act of socializing not only keeps us connected to those around us but promotes healthy aging.

This desire to connect with others comes naturally to us. Unfortunately, for some, factors such as changes to mobility or limited access to transportation can impact a person’s opportunities for socialization. The good news is that senior living communities provide a solution.

Our team at Rivertown Ridge, a senior living community in Wyoming, Michigan, understands and values how important connection is to healthy aging. This is why we are sharing the benefits of socialization and how our community can help you stay engaged with your peers.

Delaying Cognitive Decline

Socializing and holding a conversation require effort – more than many people may realize. Because it is a part of everyday life, it comes easy and naturally, but a conversation takes brainpower.

Not only do you have to listen to what another person is saying and remember it, but you also have to formulate an appropriate response while using your short-term memory to recall what has previously been said in the conversation. This only gets more complicated as more people are added to the conversation.

Engaging and connecting with friends and family can help delay or prevent cognitive decline. It keeps the mind stimulated and exercises a person’s short-term memory, the part of the memory typically first affected by dementia.

Boosting Self-Esteem & Creating a Sense of Purpose

We all need something to look forward to and waking up in the morning with a sense of purpose helps promote overall healthy aging. In addition, socialization and connecting with others can create this sense of purpose in our lives.

When you form meaningful relationships, you feel a sense of belonging and purpose. You are part of a group of friends that values you, your input and your presence. Additionally, when you make plans, other people count on your involvement, making you feel appreciated. While simple, feeling needed can boost a person’s self-esteem and confidence.

Senior living communities, like Rivertown Ridge, provide the perfect setting for socialization and engagement. Our community in Wyoming, Michigan, offers a welcoming atmosphere that encourages individuals to connect and create this sense of purpose in their lives.

Increasing Physical Activity

When you are part of a social circle, you are more likely to be physically active. One study found that 95% of those who started a weight-loss program with friends completed the program. Friends can even encourage us to engage in new activities and exercises, such as pickleball, water aerobics or biking.

Even if you are simply walking down the hall to meet a friend for a cup of coffee, this is more activity than staying in your home all day. However, it is important to note that you should consult with your doctor before making any significant changes to your exercise routine and level of physical activity.

Improving Longevity

According to Harvard Health Publishing, “dozens of studies have shown that people who have social support from family, friends, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.”

Socialization improves our mental and physical health, leading to a longer lifespan and healthy aging. As mentioned above, when people socialize, they tend to be more active. Perhaps they go on a walk with a friend or have a gym buddy. 

Even further, simply “taking time to connect with others can help activate more beneficial processes—such as the release of oxytocin, [which] has been found to lower cortisol, reduce pain, change the way our brain responds to potential stressors, and even promote the growth of new brain cells (”

Socialization and connection play an important role in the healthy aging process. At Rivertown Ridge, we offer endless opportunities for residents to engage and form meaningful relationships. 

We invite you to visit our website or contact our team to learn more about our senior living community in Wyoming, Michigan!