Social wellness relates to nurturing yourself and your relationships, it includes giving and receiving social support, ensuring you have friends and family to turn to in times of need or crisis to give you a broader focus and positive self-image, and helps provide a buffer against adverse life events. (1)
Social wellness is important because healthy relationships have been found to be an integral component of health. As the American Society on Aging states “Social relationships have as much impact on physical health as blood pressure, smoking, physical activity, and obesity”. (2) Studies have found that people with a strong social network tend to live longer, respond better to stress, have healthier cardiovascular functioning, and an immune system with a better ability to fight off infectious diseases. (1)
Ways to Grow Your Social Network
If you are concerned about your social connections, there are some ways you can grow your network:
- Work out. Not only will you have the benefits of getting healthier, but it is a great way to meet new people.
- Take a walk with your pet or around your neighborhood. Again you will not only get some exercise, but you also increase the opportunities to meet your neighbors.
- You get the benefit of helping others and the potential to meet new people with similar passions.
- Find others who share a similar hobby, like painting, hiking, or scrapbooking. You can find groups on Facebook or other sites, through apps, or at places in your local community, like the library. (1)
SCSEP and Social Connection
Another great opportunity to build social connections is through NICOA’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). The program’s mission is to provide opportunities for low income Elders through paid training, meaningful community service, and skills development. As SCSEP Director Sue Chapman states, “Finding meaningful employment is a great way to increase social connections, meet new people, and build new skills. These type of accomplishments are also excellent self-esteem boosters, which in turn helps to increase overall health and wellbeing.” For more information on NICOA SCSEP visit https://nicoa.org/for-elders/economic-well-being/job-training-for-older-adults-scsep/
- University of Minnesota. (n.d.). July is Social Wellness Month. Retrieved July 05, 2017, from https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/july-social-wellness-month
- Qualls, S. H. (n.d.). What Social Relationships Can Do for Health. Retrieved July 05, 2017, from http://www.asaging.org/blog/what-social-relationships-can-do-health