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Community Engagement is Key to Aging Well, Beating Loneliness

    • April 9, 2024
    • Community
  • ArchWell Health

Did you know that staying connected to your community and a supportive social network as you age is good for more than just making new friends? It’s true: social and community connections can also boost your physical and mental health.

In your later life years, it's natural for loved ones to pass away, and longtime friends or family members may move to other cities. As a result, your social circle can shrink considerably, leading to senior isolation, which is linked with heart disease, depression and cognitive decline, according to the National Institute on Aging.

The good news is, making new friends and thriving in your community may be easier than you think — and there are benefits for your body and mind.

Keeping your muscles strong with regular exercise is crucial in your 70s, 80s and beyond. But so is fostering social connections, and group exercise classes are a great way to meet new people while staying fit. Older adults are also more likely to stick to their fitness routines when they participate in workout classes with their peers, according to the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA).

In the group exercise setting, you'll find support from other people in the class, who can offer encouragement to keep coming each week. And, there are opportunities to form new friendships with others.

At your local ArchWell Health Center, YMCA or senior center you'll find plenty of group exercise classes for improving strength, endurance, flexibility (stretching) and balance, including:

1. Chair yoga, which improves joint flexibility, range of motion, muscle strength and balance,

2. Tai Chi, which helps you achieve better balance, and

3. Chair Zumba, which a fun dance exercise that raises your heart rate to improve endurance and stamina while building muscle strength in your arms, legs and back.

It's easy to find ArchWell Health exercise classes near you, including cardio chair workouts, full-body chair workouts and more. Can't get out to exercise? Follow along with ArchWell Health's online video classes. Meanwhile, catch up with phone calls to friends and family members regularly to avoid feeling isolated.

To find a class, search on ArchWell Health's Community page using the "fitness" filter.

Find elderly loneliness solutions in senior center activities

Finally, staying connected to others by attending classes, educational or social events in your community helps support healthy aging, according to the National Institute on Aging. Social engagement can also reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Have a hobby you enjoy? Find a group that shares your interests. Volunteering for a cause you're passionate about is also a great way to meet new people and find purpose in your life.

ArchWell Health centers offer plenty of fun events and activities, including: karaoke, art and craft classes, educational seminars, Bingo, BUNCO and board game days, Holiday parties, and more.

Visit the ArchWell Health Community page for nearby activities and events.

How can I find senior programs near me?

As an ArchWell Health member, you'll have access to senior programs that stave off senior isolation and help keep your mind and body active. Not an ArchWell Health member yet? You are still welcome at any of our community activates or fitness classes.

An ArchWell Health social worker can connect you with community groups, activities and events happening around your city and help you set up a plan for transportation. ArchWell Health social workers can also help you find financial assistance programs for medications and treatments, support groups, counseling services and more.

To contact an ArchWell Health social worker, visit ArchWell Health's social work referral page or call 866-508-4214 to make an appointment.

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About the Author

ArchWell Health, Senior Primary Care

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