The ability to feel engaged as part of a community as we age is a pivotal aspect of healthy aging.
Social wellness is defined here as a positive state of health derived from the relationships we create, cultivate, and maintain with others within our proximal and global community. It includes the people sharing our immediate living environment, our neighbors, family, friends, work colleagues, the people we physically interact with during our daily life routine and those we interact with through a digital platform (text messages, video calls, emails, and social networking sites to name a few).
Lack of social connections is associated with emotional illness, mental decline, and increased mortality. Some studies also point at the quality of our relationships as an important factor of health.
But maintaining significant social connections during the aging process can be challenging for some adults who, for example, are unable to drive and don’t live in walkable neighborhoods, or those whose social life revolved around work and suddenly find themselves forced to retire and without enough savings to pay for activities that allow them to socialize with others.
The good news is that connecting with others, as a receiver of needed connections or as someone facilitating the connection for someone in need, is beneficial for all parties involved.
Let’s explore the ways we can promote social wellness by cultivating healthy connections while helping others stay connected.