Ageing is a natural and graceful process that every individual goes through. It is a significant part of an individual’s life and one should embrace it. Each stage and phase of life presents itself with particular joys and difficulties. Ageing comes with its perks and struggles.
Ageing affects the social life of people in varied ways. Health deterioration, increased responsibilities, dependence on others can lead to a decline in social activity.
Ways to Keep Socially Active
As Mark Twain rightly put it, ‘Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.’ Some ways to keep yourself socially active and engaged:
- Exercise is imperative to keep oneself physically active and agile, more so in the older years. It helps maintain over health, mental well-being and can contribute to reducing illnesses. Yoga, walking, dancing and aerobics are good ways to enhance health. Joining laughter clubs and yoga groups is a way to maintain fitness and movement. According to the World Health Organization, an elderly person should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week.
- Social gatherings– keeping in touch with friends, family and neighbours through calls and meeting them often is a way to stay connected. Participating in societal activities, celebrating festivals with neighbours and family brings a sense of harmony and unity.
- Entertainment– playing games like chess, cards, joining painting or music classes, gardening can help build a network, develop a skill and keep one’s mind sharp. These activities contribute to creating moments of joy and laughter with people around us.
- Sharing knowledge and wisdom– sharing stories with children and grandchildren, passing on the learnings of life to the younger generation ensures that children are connected to their elders and bond with them.
- Intellectual stimulation will help enhance memory, attention and is especially helpful for people facing Alzheimer’s. Playing chess, learning cooking through Youtube, and connecting with even strangers will keep you socially active.
- Part time job or volunteer- organizing events in the neighbourhood, working with an NGO or working for a few hours with an employer.
- Social media – phones and laptops have brought the world closer. The world is now a click away; distances have been reduced through video calls, virtual meets and Whatsapp. Staying connected with our loved ones, taking an interest in what is going on with their lives, sharing our own stories through pictures and posts and learning new things.
Being Social can keep you Healthy
The Journal of Health and Social Behavior noted that the risk of death among people with the fewest social connections was over twice as high as the risk among men and women with the greatest number of social connections (1). Social Isolation can lead to anxiety, depression and illnesses. Having a positive mental attitude towards ageing and one’s capabilities may contribute to healthier mental health, a higher level of satisfaction, and lower levels of anxiety and depression among older adults (2). How we handle and grow from these changes, cope with daily stresses and stay in contact with others is often the key to healthy ageing.