Do you sometimes feel “off” on days when you haven’t been able to connect with friends and family members? Whether you live next door or across the country from loved ones, staying in touch isn’t just good for the soul, it’s good for your overall health and well-being.
Research reveals that social interaction is especially important for older adults, because It keeps mental and physical health in peak condition and boosts the immune system, according to Yale Medical Group. Studies even suggest that people who keep up with social interaction and maintain close friendships live longer on average than those who are isolated from others.
In addition, socially connected older adults have lower blood pressure, decreased risk of depression, and potentially a lessened risk of Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and some cancers. Social interaction also keeps your brain active!
Ways to stay connected
Are you ready to try Facebook, Twitter or another social media site? You don’t have to be a teenager to enjoy these interactive sites. About 53 percent of Americans age 65 and older use the internet and email, according to a recent Pew study, and one-third of them use social networking sites. Beside keeping you connected to friends and family, social media sites might be good for keeping your brain sharp. A recent small-scale study of adults with an average age of 79 found that participants who were taught to use Facebook had increased mental abilities.
Living with hearing loss doesn’t mean you have to avoid the phone to stay social. In fact, there are many technological advances that help you continue to enjoy talking on the phone. A captioned telephone, like CapTel, offers those with hearing loss the ability to talk with friends and family with ease. CapTel provides voice to text services – when you place a call, a captioner transcribes what the other person is saying so you are able to both hear and read the conversation simultaneously.
Learn something new
Though it’s a cliche, it’s true – you’re never too old to learn. Learning new things (like Facebook) is good for keeping the mind active. Why not ask a friend to take a pottery class with you? Or enlist a friend to teach you how to do something you’ve always wanted to try. You may just discover a fun hobby that you never imagined you’d enjoy.
You can join a gym to meet new people, and you’ll kill two birds with one stone – physical and mental fitness. Some gyms offer classes specifically for older adults, so that might be a good way to find other interesting, active people.
Join a club
Find or organize a breakfast, book, craft or volunteer club with a group of friends. Having a set time to get together every week or month will give you something to look forward to and make it easier for others to join.
You can take advantage of technology to stay connected to loved ones far away, but also find fun social activities closer to home.