The World Health Organization (WHO) has maintained that “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” for more than 70 years. So it’s not exactly news that our social health has a big impact on our mental health, and poor mental health can contribute to chronic physical conditions that impede social connection and feed the cycle. It is, however, a good reminder for seniors, especially new retirees or older people who live alone, to make a conscious effort to connect with others and engage in meaningful social activities.
“Retirement is an exciting stage for many people, full of rewarding activities and a vibrant social scene,” says Kelly Carroll, Director of Community Relations at YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens, a senior living community offering Independent Living with Supportive Services, Assisted Living and Memory Care in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. “But for others, retirement can take away their sense of purpose. Lacking a reason to get up in the morning – and the sudden loss of daily socialization they were used to – is the main reason new retirees commonly feel depressed.”
In this post, we’ll share 6 meaningful ways to nurture your social health for an overall healthier, happier you.
1. Join a peer group. If you’ve recently retired to your dream location or to be closer to family – leaving your friends, place of worship, hobby or civic clubs, and other social staples behind – or would simply like to explore something new, check out your new town’s senior centers, exercise groups, book or gardening clubs, and churches or synagogues. Joining a group with similar interests is a great way to meet new friends.
2. Embrace technology. According to the Pew Research Center, 40% of people 65+ use at least one social media platform to stay in touch. If your friends or family members live far away, meet up face-to-face with easy-to-use virtual visiting apps or Facebook to maintain those close personal relationships. TIP: Many senior communities and centers offer technology classes that teach seniors how to safely use social media and other internet sites.
3. Use it or lose it! Keep your brain active with crossword puzzles, chess, and other intellectually stimulating games. Make a standing “game date” with friends.
4. Go back to work. If retirement has you feeling a lost sense of identity or purpose, consider taking a part-time job that you enjoy. Know a thing or two about golf? Ask your local course if they could use some help in the pro shop. You might even get discounted green fees or meet new friends to start a foursome.
5. Volunteer. Become a foster grandparent, join your town’s beautification projects or a local politician’s campaign, or help out at an animal rescue center or summer camp. Find inspiration and get started with an organization like Senior Corps, which connects seniors with local and national organizations in need of volunteers.
6. Consider fostering or adopting a senior pet. Caring for a pet can restore your sense of purpose, and senior cats and dogs make great companions – especially for senior humans. In addition to the daily doses of pet therapy and its physical and emotional benefits, older dogs are (usually!) housebroken, calmer and less destructive than puppies, and easier for seniors to handle on walks. They’re also great conversation starters! Be sure to do your research and ask the shelter to help you find the right breed, age, and temperament for you and your lifestyle.
“The goal isn’t to have a hundred friends or be involved in a hundred different projects,” reminds Carroll from YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens. “The most benefits to one’s social health are found in meaningful time spent doing the things we enjoy with the people we enjoy, regardless of the quantity of either.”
Learn about the various social programs, events, and activities at YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens. Give us a call at 561-214-8549 today!
Inspired • Engaged • Fulfilled
Offering Independent Living with Supportive Services, Assisted Living and Memory Care, YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens was designed specifically with residents in mind. We know your life is shaped by family, friends, hobbies, passions and more, so we’ve created a community where you can enjoy comfort, independence and engagement, all while having the peace of mind of 24-hour support and the freedom to define your own lifestyle. Here, we shape each thing we do around you, from your routines and interests to your choices and preferences, to create an inspiring lifestyle that fits your life perfectly.
Because we are completely shaped around you, our residents get more of out their lives. With exceptional care delivered by a dedicated and compassionate team and a fulfilling lifestyle full of choice and convenience, residents have the support they need to live as independently and engaged as possible.
Each day holds something new for residents. Whether they are enjoying our exclusive activities, learning something new or simply engaging in our YourStory programming, we create an individual experience centered around each resident. Do you enjoy making new discoveries and trying new hobbies, simply want to continue the hobbies you love or enjoy some time to yourself to relax? At YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens, the choice is up to you.
Call us at 561-214-8549 for more information or to schedule a virtual visit today.