We often hear that remaining socially active is an important part of healthy aging, but how exactly do social relationships affect overall senior health? Read on and see what research is saying about robust social activity and its link to improved mental and physical wellbeing in older adults.
In 2014, researchers from the Drexel University School of Public Health measured seniors’ level of “social capital,” which was determined by a senior’s connectivity to his or her neighbors and surroundings. Those with higher social capital reported greater mobility than seniors who felt they could not depend on their neighbors and didn’t have a community connection.
Another study, conducted by the University College London, followed a group of 6,500 Brits older than age 52 for a period of eight years. The scientists found that among this group, those in the category deemed least socially active were 26 percent more likely to pass away during the study period than those who actively sought out meaningful social relationships.
Although exercise is important for seniors, researchers from the Harvard University School of Public Health found that social activities had roughly the same health impact for seniors as 30 minutes of exercise, even when those activities were not physical. At Home Care Assistance of San Antonio, we’d encourage seniors to take a walk with friends. Talk about the best of both worlds!
The positive effects of maintaining social relationships later in life aren’t just physical. Researchers from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago found that among adults with no signs of dementia, those who were social had a 70 percent reduction in the rate of cognitive decline, compared with their least social peers.
Healthy Lifestyles for Socially Active Older Adults
While experts can’t pinpoint why filling up one’s calendar with social outings and activities is so important for mental and physical wellbeing, the proof is in the research. Encourage your loved one to foster social relationships and learn more about the importance of living a socially active and purposeful lifestyle in the golden years by calling Home Care Assistance of San Antonio. Don’t forget to ask about our Balanced Care Method and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation for more information – (210) 495-6300.