In our last post, we described the common characteristics of people in the world’s “blue zones” (which have the world’s highest concentrations of long-living residents) and discussed some ways to implement the physical activity component into your daily life. Today, we’ll focus on the social engagement aspect of healthy aging and provide some resources and tools for you!
Tips for increasing social engagement for healthy aging:
- Check out your local senior center, library and community center for groups, classes, events and more. It’s an easy way to find a lot of great events and meet people with similar interests. Another idea is to check out meetup.com and search for your specific interests. You might find language exchange groups, dancing events, trivia nights, book clubs…really almost anything for anyone!
- Keep in touch with family members. You can help your older loved ones by setting them up on an iPad, iPhone or computer with Skype (or Facetime if other family members have it as well) and showing them how it works. Family members should make sure to reach out frequently to older loved ones and keep them involved in the family happenings. Even when you live far apart, send pictures of your kids, events, and messages/updates regularly. It’s all so easy to do with today’s technology.
- Volunteer. This helps with both social engagement as well as life purpose, something also shared by the blue zone residents. There are so many types of volunteer activities: an animal lover can help at the local rescue shelter, a former teacher can volunteer at the local school, a book lover can donate time to the library…there are endless possibilities. There are even projects you can do at home or with a few friends such as knitting blankets or creating a quilt/crafts for charity auctions.
- Help your loved one stay in contact with friends. Not everyone likes group activities, and your loved one may be more comfortable socializing with family and a small group of friends. But, when someone gives up driving or has health or memory issues, they often become isolated even from those close to them. Make a plan to ensure your loved one has easy access to transportation and that family/friends reach out and visit.
Resources for social engagement in healthy aging:
- EasyLiving transportation services: customized private driver services to meet your needs (one-time events, weekly outings, daily driving, etc.). EasyLiving caregivers can ensure safety and assist with getting in and out of the car, carrying packages and more. The uber solution for elders!
- Senior concierge services: help planning logistics and attending special events, from symphony performances to your weekly dance outings or even that special family reunion or cruise.
- SeniorCorps: connects volunteers 55+ with organizations that need their assistance.
- Senior Centers in Pinellas County
- Companions can help, not only by providing regular companionship, but by escorting you to events, joining you in keeping up with your fitness routine or regular walks, planning outings to enjoy the natural beauty of the area and much more. For seniors living alone, having a companion to assist with meal prep and enjoy the meal together has been shown to have a significant positive impact on both nutrition and mental health.
- Blue Zones checklists: simple checklists so you can easily improve various aspects of your life for healthy aging.
What are your favorite ideas for staying engaged socially or helping older loved ones/friends to remain active? Join us on our Facebook page to share ideas.
Contact us for help with transportation, senior companions, concierge services and more.