People across the globe are looking for the best way to stay young. Some of us embrace the “aging gracefully” theory and others want that eternal fountain of youth. The good news is there are many ways to help retain that youth for as long as possible! According to experts, staying engaged socially is one of the top ways to feel young. Let’s look a little deeper…
The Benefits of Remaining Socially Active
As we begin to age, our brains go through normal changes that can bring new challenges. One of the most common signs of these changes is memory loss. You may find it a little more difficult to retain information. It may be simple things such as remembering peoples’ names or important dates. But for those who struggle with dementia, the loss of memory can seriously impact normal life. While we can’t always prevent mental impairment, we can certainly do things to keep our brains active, just like any other part of our body. For seniors, it’s very important to stay engaged socially and keep the brain stimulated. This goes a long way in staving off dementia and depression.
According to recent studies on Alzheimer’s Disease, seniors who remained socially active had a rate of memory loss that was 70% slower than those patients who were not active socially. The study went on to show that symptoms of depression were lowered by 30% for those who used the internet for social networking.
Tips for Staying Socially Active
There are many ways you can keep engaged socially as you age. Here are a few tips for staying intellectually sharp:
• Get involved with social networking. Relationships need to be nurtured, so put the effort into keeping up with friends and family. Staying connected to neighbors and friends from church will also go a long way in keeping you socially engaged. If important people in your life don’t live near you any longer, utilize social media such as Facebook to keep in touch. The use of email, Facebook and Twitter has increased so dramatically among seniors, that assisted living facilities across the country have begun offering special classes in technology. Learning computer skills isn’t nearly as hard as you think! Just remember that kids and grandkids are the perfect resource for learning how to use social networking sites!
• Keep your brain busy! Brain teaser games such as crossword puzzles or card games is a wonderful way to stimulate your intellect. Choosing games that you can play with friends is even better. Games like chess will keep you mentally active, as well as provide great entertainment with your peers.
• Consider joining a club. If you have a favorite hobby, there may be clubs in your area that you could join for that activity. Ask a senior center near you for a list of clubs in your area. It might be gardening, reading books, needle point, or many other ideas. Clubs are a great way to find new friends who share your passions.
• Go back to work. All too often, retirement can cause many seniors to feel as though they’ve lost their purpose in life. Taking a part-time job can help prevent depression that comes with a loss of identity. It can also be a wonderful way to work with peers and meet new people
• Do some volunteer work. Volunteering in your community is one of the best ways to feel good about yourself and pay it forward. Find a cause that resonates with you and call that organization to see if they need volunteer help. Nearly all charities are thrilled to have help, no matter how great or small! Also, it’s proven that seniors who volunteer and stay active live longer, healthier lives than those who don’t.
• Stay involved with family. Offer to babysit the grandchildren or sit with other members of the family who may need assistance. Perhaps your grown children need a little help with cooking or cleaning. Staying involved with your family will keep you feeling young and maintain a sense of purpose. Chasing little ones is also a fun way to burn off those extra calories!
It’s normal to withdraw socially as we age. But staying engaged socially and intellectually is the best way to ward off depression and increase your enjoyment in life. Social stimulation is crucial for seniors, so make the effort to stay connected! Not only will you stay healthier, but you will live a more fulfilled life.