How Family and Social Connections Keep Seniors Healthy

As the poet Maya Angelou said: “Family isn’t always blood, it’s the people in your life who want you in theirs: the ones who accept you for who you are, the ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”

Research has shown that social connection improves physical health and can have powerful effects on mental and emotional well-being. Social engagement is an essential component of successful aging. Strong social connection can strengthen the immune system, help recovery from disease, and increase longevity. Although older age may bring changes to functional ability and to social relationships, it’s also true that social relationships can help improve functional ability and well-being.

Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Low levels of social connection are associated with declines in self-esteem and physical and psychological health. The U.S. surgeon general says isolation is a bigger American health problem than cancer or heart disease.

Friendships become more important as we age. So, it’s important to maintain social ties, which can provide a sense of value and identity. Moving into an assisted living community is an ideal way to maintain social connections and your health. A well-run community will organize programs for its residents and hold social events and group activities that reinforce social ties. Programs can include physical fitness, movement, drawing and art, music, lectures, outings, and accessibility to technology so that you can stay connected. And in some communities like The Reutlinger, a spiritual leader.

So, make social engagement a priority in your life. Whether you are living at home or in an assisted living community. Try to build and maintain your social network, participate in activities, and make an effort to connect with others every day. You’ll be glad you did, and so will your friends and family.

For more information on assisted living, contact Andrea Campisi, Director of Marketing, The Reutlinger Community, at (924) 964-2062.