4 reasons why you need social connections as you age

social connections

It’s natural to feel lonely as you age. Changes in relationships, the death of loved ones, or an unexpected medical problem can cause insecurity and depression. Many people withdraw from life as they reminisce about the past. While reliving memories can be cathartic, doctors advise that it also can cause chronic loneliness and lead to health problems. Consider four reasons why you need social connections as you age:

  1. Supports well-being – Spending time with others can help you forget about your problems and loneliness. Many people also have found it helpful to talk about their feelings and experiences with friends or a therapy professional. Or, maybe you just need a new focus, such as volunteering to help others.
  2. Enhances brain health – Being socially connected can help improve memory, boost cognitive skills, and lower the risk for dementia. By staying social, you could reduce mental decline up to 70 percent. Similar to physical health, maintaining brain health also is a “use it or lose it” scenario.
  3. Improves outlook – Make it a priority to get together regularly with others. Develop new relationships and interests by enrolling in art or exercise classes, taking up a new hobby, attending community events, or joining a book club. These experiences will improve your attitude, and keep you engaged with others.
  4. Thwarts loneliness – After losing a spouse or partner, the quietness of your home can be overwhelming and increase feelings of loneliness. That’s why health experts recommend looking for a family member or friend to share the space. Hopefully, your new housemate is interested in going with you to check out new restaurants, try out different activities, or travel to fun vacation spots.

National Institute on Aging
Greater Good Magazine