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5 Reasons Why Seniors Should Participate in Social Activities

 
Social activities provide many benefits to people of all ages.  As children, the more socially active we are, the more likely we are to form solid friendships as we grow to understand and value the importance of interaction.  Throughout adulthood, if we are able to successfully maintain a healthy balance between work, home life and social activities, we are more likely to enjoy an overall sense of happiness and fulfillment. 
Once we fully retire, the social interaction we once had at work is gone.  Participation in social activities during our older adult and senior years is important so that we may maintain our connection to other people.  Once our full-time working days come to an end, it is easy to become disconnected from society.  Without any outside exposure to the world around them, it is possible for seniors deteriorate at a quicker rate, both mentally and physically.

1 – Relationship Building

A seniors’ social activity – whether it be a book club, bingo night or academic class – gives you the opportunity to meet new people.  When your social interaction is confined to the same people day in and day out, your brain does not receive the diverse social stimulation it needs to maintain its health.  Seniors who have an opportunity to build new relationships with a wide range of people will enjoy the benefits of a comprehensive social network.

2 – Sense of Mastery and Accomplishment

Consider choosing a social activity that involves learning a new skill.  For example, maybe you want to sing, browse the Internet, or dance the tango.  Social activities take many forms, from low mobility to high mobility.  Seniors who enable themselves to experience new challenges have the chance to succeed at their chosen activities.  By discovering new talents and realizing their true potentials, seniors are able to build confidence, establish control in their lives, and achieve their personal goals.

3 – Mental Stimulation

Regardless of what social activity you or your senior loved one selects, it will be new and exciting.  Fresh material puts seniors’ minds to work – enjoyable work, that is.  Discover the fun in clicking a mouse at the computer, speaking a new language, or interacting with someone you’ve never met before.  Social activities give seniors the enjoyment they need, and simultaneously feed their brains with the essential nutrients required to keep sharp.

4 – Connectedness

Seniors with low or no social activity in their lives will find themselves withdrawn from the world.  We all have a need to feel as though we belong.  Clubs, seniors' groups, and friends make us feel good…and wanted.  Seniors who participate in social activities have a schedule, places to be, people who expect them to show up, and a reason to wake up in the morning.  Think of seniors’ social activities as pleasurable obligations, providing retirees with a strong sense of purpose.
Social activities connect seniors to their communities.  It is wise to have a mix of high and low mobility activities, that way if a day comes where the senior’s physical capabilities are not what they used to be, they still have a line up of less strenuous activities to keep them connected.

5 – Slowed Memory Loss and Maintained Muscle Strength

There are significant health benefits for seniors who are socially active.  Many studies have shown that many seniors involved in social activities, experience memory loss at a drastically slower rate.  Given the fact that memory loss is a key risk factor for dementia, it is in seniors’ best interests to do everything they can to preserve their healthy minds for as long as possible. 
The Archives of Internal Medicine published a study in 2009 which stated that social activity for seniors is just as important as exercise.  Speed, dexterity and muscle strength requires social interaction to be maintained during the senior years.  The study found that those who were socially inactive experienced physical decline at a rate 1/3 more rapid than those who were socially active – even if they exercised regularly.
Many other studies show that social activity, participation and integration have astonishing positive effects on seniors’ overall health and well being. 

Ideas For Seniors’ Social Activities


Classes

Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, drawing, painting, dance, computer lessons, gardening, arts and crafts, home skills, singing, musical instrument instruction.
Outings
Casinos, theaters, nature parks or animal sightings, bird watching, museums, outlet malls.
Events & Other Pastimes
Game nights, book clubs, volunteering in the community, movie nights, potlucks, photography sessions, senior travel, making a family newspaper with grandchildren, emailing and chatting with friends online.

 
 
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