Staying social can mean many things to many people. It could mean going out to dinner on a regular basis, joining clubs, taking classes, going to the gym, or gathering with friends at a coffee shop. For people who are more homebound, staying social could mean staying in contact with people through the Internet and by telephone. However you define staying social, it’s been proven that being socially active promotes healthier aging. For people who feel they aren’t able to participate in social activities alone, in-home care can help.
Staying Social Reduces Risk of Disability
A Rush University Medical Center study reported higher levels of social activity are associated with a decreased risk of becoming disabled. The results showed that people who reported a high level of social activity were about twice as likely to remain free of a disability involving activities of daily living (toileting, bathing, etc.) than people who weren’t as socially active. They were also about 1.5 times as likely to remain free of disability involving instrumental activities of daily living (meal preparation, housework, etc.) or mobility.
Quality of Life Is Better for Many with Greater Social Support
A study of more than 3,000 women with breast cancer that showed a connection between social support and physical symptoms was published in 2013 in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. The women completed questionnaires about their social activities and interactions, and their physical and emotional state during treatment. The results showed that women with good social support reported fewer physical symptoms during treatment and had better emotional quality of life than those women who said they had little or no social interactions.
Be Social and Live Longer
Being socially active can contribute to the increase in the quality and length of life.
- Researchers in Australia followed senior citizens for 10 years. In people 70 years old and older, the risk of dying decreased by 20 percent when people had a strong network of friends. Having social interactions with friends provided a greater effect than interactions with family members.
- University College London followed 6,500 British people over the age of 52 from 2004 to 2012.Those that lacked social interaction were 26 percent more likely to die during the period than those with active social lives.
The proof that staying social as we age leads to greater health outcomes is in the pudding! A-Abiding Care can provide home health care to help you get out of the house and take advantage of the social interactions available in your community. We can offer services such as a travel companion so you can visit family and friends (or go on a cruise!), as well as help by providing transportation to local activities throughout the greater Chicago area, or by keeping you company, playing cards, watching television, or providing quiet companionship. Contact us to arrange for an in-home care assessment to see how we can help you.
Sources: SeniorJournal.com, Rush University Medical Center, U.S. News and World Report, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Journal, The American Journal of Psychiatric Health, The Seattle Longitudinal Studies of adult intelligence, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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