According to Statistics Canada, seniors who are socially active are likely to live longer, stay sharper mentally, and be less prone to disability or depression than seniors who are socially isolated. This suggests that one of the keys to successful aging is engaging in meaningful activities and maintaining close relationships with others to prevent isolation and loneliness.
At the same time, staying socially active can become more challenging as we grow older. After retirement, we lose our social connections through work. We may begin to lose touch with friends and relatives due to travel and mobility challenges and to death. At some point, we may lose our spouse.
When this happens, loneliness can set in. We may feel a lack of companionship, a sense of feeling left out or isolated from others. And our health can deteriorate as a result.
The link between good health and social activity
Growing awareness of the link between good health and social activity has led to an approach called social prescribing. Rather than prescribing medications for lonely patients, family physicians may instead connect them to a community service or a group activity. In Canada, there’s now a national institute for social prescribing, an online hub focused on connecting people to community-based supports and services that can help improve their health and wellbeing.
Ways for seniors to stay socially active
Here are a few things you can do to stay socially active as you get older.
- Join a club or group: Joining a club or group can help you meet like-minded people and make new friends. Whether it’s a book club, gardening club, a group that plays card games together, or game night, participating in these activities can provide a sense of purpose, reduce stress, and increase social engagement.
- Volunteer: Volunteering is an excellent way to give back to your community while also meeting new people. You can volunteer at a local hospital, school, church, or animal shelter or find other opportunities through volunteer websites. Volunteer Canada is a great website to start your search for volunteer opportunities.
- Attend community events: Many communities have events such as fairs, festivals, and concerts. Attending these events can be a fun way to get out of the house, meet new people, and enjoy the local culture.
- Stay in touch with family and friends: Staying connected with loved ones can have a significant impact on your mental and emotional well-being. Whether it’s calling or emailing regularly, planning visits or vacations together, or using technology to stay in touch, maintaining these relationships is essential.
- Use technology: Technology has made it easier than ever to stay connected with people, even if they’re far away. Consider using social media, video chat, or email to stay in touch with loved ones.
A place where social interaction is a part of daily life
If getting out of your home is a hassle, you may want to consider moving somewhere social interaction is baked into everyday life. A place where, on any given day, you can choose from a full menu of social activities that are held just steps from where you live. Think cruise ship, except on dry land.
That place is a retirement living community.
At our retirement communities, our goal is to foster an environment where residents can thrive. We take great care to create safe spaces that cultivate friendship and celebration, empower physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, encourage creativity, and spark new learning.
Want to learn more? Contact one of our communities near you.