The need for solid relationships does not fade with age. In fact, social wellness becomes more critical as we grow older. Consistent socialization helps people stay mentally, emotionally and physically fit. Healthy relationships can also ward off isolation and make life more meaningful.
Meeting people and fostering friendships is more manageable for children, of course, as they can meet new people at school, in sports, and at playdates. It is considerably more complicated for older adults, as they have fewer opportunities to meet and spend time with others who have similar interests. Mobility issues and health problems also can make it more difficult for relationships. And, of course, making and retaining friends has been incredibly challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fortunately, older adults still can build stronger relationships and enjoy a rewarding social life.
Benefits of Social Wellness in Older Adults
Strong relationships can have physical, cognitive, and emotional benefits for older adults. The National Institute on Aging links social isolation and loneliness with a higher risk of a number of conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, cognitive decline, depression, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, and more. Building strong relationships can be key in warding off these conditions.
How to Build Stronger Relationships in 6 Easy Steps
1. Build and maintain positive relationships with your grandchildren
Strong relationships between grandparents and grandchildren are mutually beneficial — grandparents are a good source of knowledge about the world and their family legacy, while grandchildren help keep grandparents active, connected, and engaged.
Simply spending time with your grandchildren can help strengthen relationships. Playing ball, building blocks, and reading works well for younger children; going to sporting events or watching television together suits adolescents.
2. Do volunteer work
Working side by side with others for the common good is a great way to establish and strengthen friendships with like-minded people. Volunteer work has the added benefit of keeping older adults busy and engaged.
There are many opportunities for older adults to volunteer and meet others. Older volunteers are in demand by-several organizations, such as AARP, Senior Corps, and Habitat For Humanity. Older adults may also volunteer at their local museums, libraries, gardens, and community organizations.
3. Stay focused on the positive
Of course, no relationship is perfect, but a healthy relationship has vastly more positivity than negativity. Strengthen your relationships by offering positive statements in your everyday conversations, even when you disagree with someone.
4. Join groups in your community
One key to building stronger relationships is to surround yourself with like-minded people. Participating in events at your local senior center or independent living community can help you meet people around your age, while joining a religious organization in your community can help foster a spiritual connection with others.
5. Stay connected, even online
Spending time with one another is essential for a healthy relationship, but it is not always possible to visit friends and family in person. The Internet creates an exciting new way to connect with acquaintances and strengthen existing relationships with friends and family without leaving home.
You can use Zoom, Skype, or other video conferencing programs if you are comfortable using a camera, or opt for Facebook or other social media platforms if you would prefer to chat via text.
6. Move to a retirement community
Premier retirement communities fill their calendars with exciting and inclusive social events that range from games and movie nights to group outings, offering plenty of opportunities to strengthen relationships with next-door neighbors. Many activities offered by retirement communities are designed to help strengthen social interaction, and also fulfill your mental and physical needs.
For more information on ways to strengthen your relationships, contact Deupree House in Cincinnati, Ohio. Inclusivity, social interaction, and healthy relationships are as significant to us as they are to you.