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Whether it’s sharing laughter with friends, finding solace in family or forging new relationships, our social networks play a pivotal role in shaping our experiences and overall well-being.
But did you know these connections are more than just sources of joy? They can significantly impact our mental and physical health, even extending our lifespan.
In fact, one study from PLOS Medicine covering more than 300,000 participants revealed that a strong social network throughout life can give us a 50% boost in longevity.
Let’s delve into the incredible benefits of nurturing a robust social network and explore how it can potentially add more years to our lives.
The Benefits of Social Connections for Older Adults
From an everyday mood boost to enhanced long-term brainpower, frequent connection with a strong social circle brings several advantages as we age.
Engaging with friends, family and acquaintances can dissolve feelings of isolation and depression. Numerous studies have highlighted the link between strong social engagement and a reduced risk of mental health disorders. So, that coffee date with a friend isn’t just a break from routine – it’s a step toward a healthier mind.
Guess what? Your friends might be your best health advocates. Social connections have a ripple effect on our physical well-being, as you’re more likely to adopt healthier behaviors like eating well, exercising regularly and keeping up with medical check-ups. Moreover, companionship has a positive impact on managing chronic conditions and overall health management.
Life has its ups and downs, and during those challenging moments, our social network becomes a safety net. Friends and family provide the emotional cushion we need to bounce back from setbacks, reduce our stress and improve our emotional resilience.
Meaningful conversations are like workouts for the brain. Research suggests an active social life can stave off cognitive decline, and engaging in discussions and sharing ideas stimulates essential cognitive functions that keep our minds agile.
How Social Networks Can Increase Your Longevity
What if your social interactions had a direct impact on your lifespan? Well, emerging research on Blue Zones — or areas of the world where people regularly live to 100 — suggests just that.
This connection isn’t just a happy accident; it’s backed by science: Over the course of seven years, the PLOS study found people with larger social networks are about 45% less likely to die than those who are isolated. Reduced stress, healthier lifestyle choices and an increased sense of purpose are some of the mechanisms that link strong social bonds to increased longevity.
Nurturing a Strong Social Network
- Quality vs. Quantity: In the era of friend counts and followers, it’s easy to forget that the true magic lies in the quality of our connections. Authentic relationships, where you can truly be yourself, have a far-reaching impact on our happiness and well-being.
- Diversifying Interests: Expanding your social circle can be as simple as picking up a new hobby that introduces you to like-minded individuals who share your passions. Join clubs, classes or communities to connect with people who understand your excitement for bird watching, pickleball or DIY crafts.
Social Benefits of Artessa Co-ops
Imagine living in a community that’s intentionally designed to foster connections with neighbors that become lifelong friends.
Artessa co-ops provide active adults 62+ just that – a community of like-minded individuals where shared values and interests bring residents together in a meaningful way.
- Built-In Social Network: At Artessa a social network is built into the very fabric of the community. Members naturally form bonds through shared spaces, activities and events. It’s more than a residence; it’s a community invested in each other’s well-being.
- Collaboration & Connection: Artessa co-ops promote collaboration, ensuring everyone has a voice. From community management to member-owned classes and clubs, these co-ops create opportunities for members to connect on a deeper level.
Your social network is more than a collection of contacts – it’s a lifeline to happiness, health and possibly a longer life. Whether you’re enjoying a hearty laugh with your friends, leaning on your family during tough times or finding companionship in a community like Artessa, remember these connections are investments in your well-being.
So, reach out, make those plans and let your social network be the vibrant tapestry that enriches your life in ways you never thought possible.
Learn more about how Artessa has perfected the art of cooperative living, and contact us to reserve your home-to-own in our upcoming Minnesota and Arizona retirement co-op communities.