Is connection the key to longevity?

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People Need People

There is a fundamental truth about people, they crave connection. It doesn't matter if they are introverted or extroverted, all people need meaningful supportive relationships. Some people fear old age, not because of wrinkles or health challenges but because of feelings of loneliness and abandonment, and isolation. Some studies have even gone so far as to say loneliness and isolation are more dangerous than smoking.

The good news is there are many ways of staying connected to friends and family and staying connected with the right people can help you live a healthier and more fulfilled life at any age.

What do we know about social connection and how to preserve it?

1. Connection has a positive impact on mental and physical health

According to Stanford University's College of Medicine, people who feel more connected to others have lower levels of anxiety and depression and higher self-esteem, and are more trusting. Social connection creates a positive feedback loop for physical and emotional well-being.

2. Older people are at increased risk for loneliness and isolation

According to the CDC as we age our risk of becoming socially isolated becomes greater. Illness, injury, or loss of mobility can make it harder to get out and do all the things we used to do. Loss of friends and family can cause social circles to dwindle. Hearing loss can also cause isolation from the bustling world around us. Isolation increases the risk of dementia and other serious medical issues.

3. Planning is the most powerful tool for prevention

Understanding the risks and creating a plan is the best way to preserve and grow social connectedness. The first step is taking account of your current situation. Ask yourself some important questions and create a goal. What limitations do you have? What opportunities do you have to increase your social circle? Are there programs in your community that could help you achieve your goals? Simply having a plan will significantly increase your chances of success.

4. In 2022 it is easier than ever to remain connected 

Your imagination is the only limitation to reconnecting with the world. In-person, connections are possible through many community programs such as those created by your local council on aging, YMCA, or social organizations. Additionally, the pandemic greatly accelerated access to an entire universe of virtual options. Below is a curated list of resources to help increase connectivity, regardless of age or ability.

Ideas to improve social connectedness
  • Contact the local council on aging - Your local council on aging is guaranteed to have some great support programs to keep you active, engaged, and connected to the community.
  • Join the YMCA - the YMCA is a fantastic organization that has evidence-based healthy living programs. They focus on accessibility and provide a great opportunity to support your social connectivity goals. Did you know that every YouMeCare client gets a free membership to the YMCA as part of their plan? You can read more about that here.
  • Jump into the metaverse - it may sound out there, but why not join the cutting edge in technology by embracing the brave new world of virtual reality? If you stop to think about it the application makes a lot of sense for people with physical limitations. For a few hundred dollars you could join a community that has no bias towards age or ability.
  • Hire a professional - If you live alone or have physical limitations that prevent you from flourishing socially, consider hiring a professional caregiver. There are many options out there to connect with professionals, including YouMeCare's growing network of high-quality caregivers. In fact daily or weekly socialization with a professional caregiver can slow the onset of dementia and cognitive decline.

If any of these suggestions seem too far out of reach, feel free to contact us. We specialize in providing opportunities for our clients to be more connected and independent. YouMeCaregivers have a proven track record of creating strong connections and supporting healthy aging in the home. The relationship you develop with your professional caregivers could even lead to them becoming an integral part of your support system. Reach out today to learn more about how YouMeCare can connect you with some of the most friendly caregiving professionals.