How important is socialization as a person ages? Very important! According to a study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, social isolation and loneliness are associated with a higher risk of mortality in adults 52 and older. Thankfully, there are effective ways to combat both. Healthy, fulfilling activities can take many forms, from continuing education classes to group exercise. Here are a few ways to improve your overall quality of life while reducing the risks associated with social isolation:
Join a group: Having a variety of positive social outlets contributes to one’s psychological and physical wellness. These outlets reduce stress, increase physical health and defeat psychological problems, such as depression and anxiety. Because of this, community-based services for older adults are more important now than ever. Recreation centers, meet-up groups and nonprofit organizations are extremely useful for the 50-plus population. These resources provide positive social supports and avenues for learning and personal growth through affordable, quality activities.
Challenge: Learn about the benefits of Tai Chi and sign up for a class offered through Plano’s Parks and Recreation Department. Check out the senior membership discounts while you're there!
Volunteer: Volunteerism allows older adults to use their unique skill sets and oodles of life experience to contribute to the world around them. It also boosts longevity and contributes to mental health and well-being, not to mention it ensures a sense of social connection. You could even make a friend or two along the way, and friends are good for the brain, according to AARP.
Challenge: Visit the Volunteers in Plano webpage to learn about all the ways you can help the neighbors in your community.
Get out with a group: In addition to its classes and programs, Plano Parks and Recreation offers group outings specifically designed for active adults. You're never too old to travel or learn new things. The department’s 2018 lineup features trips to many unique and affordable venues. Tickets include transportation, so kick back and enjoy the ride!
Challenge: Take one of many summer trips departing from Oak Point Park Nature & Retreat Center, 5901 Los Rios Blvd. For more information or to register for a trip, visit Plano Parks and Recreation’s online registration portal or call 972-941-7250.