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Staying social is key to living well as you age

As we age, it can be easy to become isolated and withdraw from social connections. However, research has shown that staying social and maintaining strong connections with family, friends, and the community is key to living well as we get older.

Studies have shown that social isolation and loneliness are major risk factors for poor health and well-being in older adults. Research conducted by the Otago Polytech’s School of Nursing found that loneliness can develop into depression and other health complications, for example.

Here are some reasons why staying social and having strong connections is so important for older adults:

  • Improved mental health: Social connections have been linked to improved mental health and well-being in older adults. Regular social interactions can help reduce feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress.
  • Better physical health: Social connections have also been linked to better physical health outcomes in older adults. Studies have shown that older adults who are more socially engaged have lower rates of chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.
  • Increased resilience: Strong social connections can help older adults cope with challenging life events such as the loss of a loved one or health problems. Social support can provide a sense of comfort and belonging, which can help older adults stay resilient in the face of adversity.
  • Sense of purpose: Staying socially engaged can give older adults a sense of purpose and meaning in life. Social connections can provide opportunities for learning, growth, and personal development.

So, what can older adults do to maintain strong social connections? Here are some tips:

  • Stay in touch with family and friends: Regularly reach out to loved ones through phone calls, emails, or video chats.
  • Join a club or organisation: Look for local clubs or organisations that align with your interests, such as a book club, gardening club, or community group.
  • Volunteer: Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community while also meeting new people and building connections.
  • Attend community events: Attend local events and activities, such as concerts or festivals, to connect with people in your community.
  • Take a class: Learning a new skill or hobby can provide opportunities to meet new people and build connections.
Updated: 14 Apr 2023
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