People really do need people. It’s not just a catchy line in a song. It’s actually a scientifically proven fact—having a strong social life can help older adults live longer, healthier lives. There are all kinds of mental, physical and emotional benefits, and even introverts can gain from the simplest human interactions. In fact, being social may be one of the easiest ways to protect the health and wellness of seniors. Good news all around!
Assisted living in Beverly, Massachusetts, offers multiple options for seniors to find friendship, connection and purpose. In fact at The Herrick House, we believe independence and companionship go hand-in-hand.
A Friend is a Friend is a Secret to Staying Well.
The health and wellness of seniors calls for several things: a sound diet, daily exercise, seeking medical care when needed, reducing exposure to sun, and more. But isn’t it great to know that one of the best ways to achieve healthy longevity is to just be around people you enjoy? Here are some examples of how social connections can benefit you:
- Being around others gets us up and moving. A recent study from the University of Texas at Austin found that older adults who were more social reported more positive moods and engaged in more physical activity than people who spent time alone. This is important because as a person gets older, they tend to become more sedentary, and often aren’t good about getting to a gym or committing to a regular workout.
But meeting a friend for coffee, walking around a park with a buddy, or keeping a regular tee time with a neighbor gets you up, out, and socializing—good for your body, mind, and spirit.
- Friendships can keep our minds sharp. Researchers at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine published a study that found that friendships were the common ground for people in their 80s whose brains functioned as if they were in their 50s or 60s, a group called “Super Agers.” And it doesn’t have to be an involved friendship, even casual conversations with strangers can have benefits.
As you consider Assisted living in Beverly, Massachusetts, think about how nice it would be to have friends right next door when you’d like to share stories of your day or your grandchildren. (Or that hole in one!)
- Strong social connections provide a sense of belonging. This enhances the health and wellness of seniors by boosting mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. When you have friends and acquaintances in your life, you feel a connection; you have a place in a group. You are more likely to look forward to each day. In turn, this translates to feeling better about your health, and makes you less likely to question faith and beliefs. You are more content; less prone to doubts and anxiety.
- Friends motivate you to adopt healthy habits. When it comes to the health and wellness of seniors, being around a friend with good habits really does tend to rub off. If they pass on dessert, you’re more likely to do the same. If your neighbor is a regular at Zumba, you are more inclined to join in. It can really add up when you examine the negative effects of overeating, over-drinking, sitting too much, smoking, or even just letting worries get to you. Instead, share them with a friend on a brisk walk and your mind and body will thank you!
- Sharing with others reduces your stress. Many don’t realize all the damage too much stress can do to a person over time, especially as they age. Researchers have found that cortisol levels in a person’s body increase steadily after middle-age, and that this age-related increase in stress may drive changes in the brain. Studies by the National Institute of Mental Health support the notion that stress and anxiety rewire the brain in ways that can impact memory, decision-making, and mood and negatively affect the health and wellness of seniors.
Too much stress can also result in inflammation in the body, resulting in a number of chronic health conditions. Cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and depression are just some of the conditions linked to inflammation. The Mayo Clinic reports that having a network of social support can improve the ability to copy with stressful situations and alleviate the effects of emotional distress.
Participating in assisted living group events and activities keeps you current, stimulates your brain, and boosts your mood.
Choosing Assisted living in Beverly, Massachusetts, is an excellent strategy for building a strong social network. At The Herrick House, there are all kinds of ways to spend a day in the company of others—learning to paint, playing cards, participating in Tai chi, listening to a concert, joining friends for happy hour, walking around the lovely grounds—and much more.
You aren’t just doing the things you love most. At The Herrick House, you’re surrounded by friends and staff who are happy to see you. And that feels great!
The Herrick House lifestyle always revolves around you. Contact us to learn more and to schedule your tour.