January 31, 2018

Socializing is the Key to Healthy Aging

By Peggy Dykes
Community Relations Director
Milestone’s Area Agency on Aging

We all know that eating right and keeping fit can help us lead longer lives. However, being social is another key component to longevity. Whether it’s dinner with friends or a simple phone call with a loved one, you can reap the benefits of socializing from staying mentally sharp and physically healthy. Socializing provides numerous benefits and can add years to your life.

Stay sharp and happy.

According to the Mayo Clinic, social seniors are at a decreased risk for developing cognitive impairments such as dementia. Lonely individuals may be twice as likely to develop the type of dementia linked to Alzheimer’s disease in late life than those who regularly socialize. Seniors who reported having a few hours a day of social interaction were found to be happier, less stressed, and less likely to develop depression.

Being around other people can help keep a positive outlook on life and a healthy mental state. Conversation and activity are great for exercising the mind and experience an overall better quality of life. Socialization creates reasons to stay well and helps foster a positive state of mind. There are many ways to connect to this health benefit.

  • Volunteer at local organizations or events
  • Get involved in a church group
  • Go to a senior living community or public library for programs
  • Participate in exercise classes
  • Visit friends or family
  • Join a senior center or club
  • Find (or start) a group that focuses on similar interests such as knitting, walking, baking or golfing.

Take a proactive role in your well-being. Socialization is the best investment you can make for good health. Build your “social bank” by playing cards with the neighbor down the hall or meeting friends for lunch. Consider volunteering your time and talents to schools, churches or your favorite organization. Stay connected to people and activities you like.

Milestones Area Agency on Aging supports socialization at congregate meal centers, conducting health workshops and through volunteer opportunities.

Peggy Dykes is Community Relations Director at Milestones Area Agency on Aging. She can be reached at (563) 484-3147, ext. 212 or at pdykes@milestonesaaa.org.