It makes sense that July is Social Wellness Month. The summer weather is here and there's no better time to get active or enjoy the outdoors, especially with friends, relatives or others who share the same interests. Social interaction is a big part of living a healthy lifestyle in retirement, and sometimes it can be hard to get motivated and seek it. Without a job to commute to or errands to run, staying at home becomes easier and more explainable.
There's no question you can enjoy time on your own in retirement, but it's also important to spend time with others. Social wellness factors into physical and mental health, which makes it all the more important for seniors in retirement: Isolation can have negative effects and its health risks can be compared to cigarette smoking, high blood pressure and obesity, said the University of Minnesota. The school also said people with the support of strong social networks:
- Tend to live longer.
- Have heart and blood pressure levels that respond better to stress.
- May benefit from improved endocrine system health and cardiovascular functioning.
- Can enhance their immune system's ability to fight infectious disease.
If you're living in a retirement community or considering moving to one, there's ample opportunity for socializing. Whether this means chatting with other residents at an event or bonding with another volunteer, social interaction is at the heart of enjoying retirement and leading a high quality of life. Here are some ways in which retirement communities can help provide such ways to build social wellness:
Music can unite people like little else can, and what's better than attending an outdoor venue and enjoying some tunes? Not only do seniors get to admire the music, but also the scenery. There's just something special about listening to a symphony under the stars—if you prefer classical music. If you like something a little more contemporary, no need to worry, as many popular artists travel the outdoor concert circuit, whether rock bands, soul singers or choirs. You can attend concerts with friends or family, or go as part of a group from your community.
Remember, you can get just as much from a small stage at a local festival as you can from a riverside amphitheater. The key is to just appreciate the experience and make the most of it. Maybe you run into someone with the same tastes and talk about previous concerts of the same band you've seen. Concerts aren't just entertaining, they can be positive for social wellness.
Volunteering can provide just the type of social stimulation and self-satisfaction that is important to physical and mental health. There are countless causes and charities that need volunteers, and if up to the task, seniors can find great meaning in giving back to the community or others less well off. The warm weather outside is often ideal for participating in a community clean-up event. In addition to helping beautify playgrounds or streets, seniors can talk to with other volunteers and even wind-down after the event at a party. Unfortunately, the hot conditions may be more troublesome for homeless or stray animals, who could also use the help.
The value in volunteering isn't just in being active socially, but also in taking meaning from giving back, which can improve self-esteem and even make you feel better physically.
Theater in parks
You don't need to see Shakespeare at The Globe in London to enjoy the bard's greatest works. Local theater troupes often put on less dramatic works like "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "As You Like It" in shady parks. An added draw to seeing outdoor theater performances is that because the production is local, attendees may be able to ask questions or converse with actors at the end. It can make for an immersive and highly enjoying experience—you may even be tempted to sign up for local acting classes and audition for the next season's play.
Morning group exercises
Starting off the day right is hugely important to setting the tone, and morning exercise can be just the thing to laid the foundation for a great day. Exercise has the dual benefit of being good for both physical and mental health; when exercising not only do you work out your muscles, but also your brain. Listening to the morning news can accomplish this, but even better is exercising with others. You can talk about an episode of a popular show that aired last night while in the pool or catch up from the weekend with a Monday jog. In any case, exercise is great for social wellness.
Living in a community can provide these exact opportunities for self-enrichment and social wellness. Have a question about retirement communities? Call or email us today