Nutrition and sleep and exercise all factor into a healthy lifestyle, but did you know relationships are equally important when it comes to aging well?
It makes sense, from a purely mental perspective, that you’re probably more happy when you’re pending time with friends or family than you are sitting home alone, watching TV. What’s interesting, though, is that feelings of loneliness don’t only affect your state of mind, but also your physical health. Studies have found that chronic loneliness—over time—can be associated with high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, a diminished immune response, depression, difficulty sleeping, cognitive decline, and dementia. No matter our age, we never outgrow our need for friends. (Our health depends on it.)
BENEFITS OF SOCIAL OPPORTUNITIES
Promote physical activity
When people feel isolated, they tend to have fewer reasons to get out and be active.
Provide a sense of purpose
When seniors feel that they’re making positive contributions in society, they have a greater sense of purpose in life. According to Bryan James, a Chicago-area epidemiologist, seniors with a sense of purpose are less likely to become depressed or become diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Introduce more fun into your life
Participating in activities is just more fun when you have someone to share the experience with. (Plus friends are more likely to inspire you to try something new.)
Improve your mental health
We aren’t meant to be disengaged with others. Studies show that seniors who have strong social connections are 70 percent less likely to experience cognitive decline than those who are isolated. (“Use it or lose it” applies to both the body AND the mind.)
Encourage health checkups
When a friend encourages an adult to get a health screening, they’re up to 22 percent more likely to actually follow through on it. This results in serious health issues detected earlier, and treated with higher rates of success.
Give you a sense of belonging
Loneliness is not the same as being alone. At American Baptist Homes of the Midwest communities, if you want to relax in your room, that’s fine. If you want to chat over a cup of coffee or join an activity, neighbors are right next door. You can be alone when you choose, but you won’t ever be lonely. Living here is all about convenience, safety, a genuine sense of community, and making authentic, meaningful connections. Our communities were designed to maximize friendship, health, and happiness. If you’d like to set up a tour, call us at 952-941-3175.