In an average day, Ms. Alvarez interacts with many people. In the mornings, she frequently walks to a neighborhood café to have coffee with her best friend. In the afternoons, she likes to go to the local senior center, where her favorite activities are water aerobics classes and playing bridge. In the evenings, she often calls her daughter to chat, and likes to send emails and pictures to her grandchildren in college. Ms. Alvarez’s daily life has a lot of social connectedness.
What is social connectedness?
- A person’s level and quality of contact with other people
Why is social connectedness important?
- It is key to healthy aging. Studies have shown that older people who have close connections and relationships not only live longer, but also cope better with health conditions and experience less depression. Life transitions can impact the number and quality of people’s social and community networks. For example, friends and family members may move away, which can have a negative impact on someone’s social network. But a transition such as the birth of a new family member can bring positive changes.
What are some of the life circumstances that can affect one’s social connectedness?
- Changes in health and ability to walk and get around
- Changes in work status and income
- Changes in living arrangements
- Loss of family and friends, particularly a spouse
- Commuting challenges. When driving is no longer an option, isolation becomes a significant issue, especially in communities where there is little or no public transportation.
Below are some proactive steps you can take to prevent loneliness and stay connected. Continue reading