Positive emotions can have a large impact on your overall health. Feeling happy and joyful can actually reduce your stress levels by causing physical differences in your heart rhythm patterns; when you are angry or anxious, for example, your heartbeat can become more erratic and affect your ability to think clearly and even drain your energy. When you’re in a good mood, you’re far more likely to engage in healthier behavior, too, like exercising and making smart food choices.
Since staying happy is so important to healthy aging, finding ways to maintain a positive outlook on life is vital. One of the best ways to generate those positive emotions is to nurture and grow relationships with family, friends and your peers.
The Importance of Avoiding Social Isolation
Seniors can be susceptible to social isolation that leads to loneliness and depression. Even if the amount of friendships you have begins to decrease, the quality of your existing relationships can play a large role in your ability to stay happy and content.
Studies have shown that seniors who remain socially active have higher levels of well-being in many aspects of life, including:
- Physical Health: Seniors with active social lives are more likely to exercise and experience less chronic conditions like osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, or cardiovascular problems. They’ll have better eating habits and lower blood pressure, too.
- Emotional Health: Being close with friends, family and peers helps ward off loneliness, which puts seniors at a greater risk for functional decline and depression.
- Mental Health: Maintaining senior relationships can help sharpen your mind, increase cognitive function and reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Building Senior Relationships in Assisted Living Communities
Aging can take a toll on the relationships in our lives. We may relocate to a new place after retirement, or friends and spouses may fall ill or pass away. Chronic loneliness is associated with a myriad of health conditions, like coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, difficulties sleeping and even dementia. This is why senior relationships are so vital to improving quality of life and healthy aging, and it’s important to make a conscious effort to continue to build your social network as you grow older.
Moving to a retirement community or assisted living community is a great way to stay socially active throughout your later years. These communities recognize the importance of socialization and offer a wide variety of opportunities for residents to interact with each other in a range of activities, from scheduled social events, outings and activities, communal dining, fitness and wellness classes to lifelong learning classes.
You should think of maintaining the relationships in your life to be as important as getting daily exercise and eating a healthy diet; relationships are key to healthy aging.
For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.