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Why Socializing Is So Important for Seniors

 If you have a loved one who is a senior, something you can do to help them mentally and even physically is encourage them to socialize. There aren’t just benefits of socializing for seniors—it can help all of us, and it’s an essential part of a healthy, thriving life. 

However, it tends to be more difficult for older people to stay socially active and engaged because they may not work full-time jobs or have things that force them to be around other people in their daily life like they once did. Older people who are isolated or lonely may be more likely to experience cognitive decline and other issues.

Older adults are especially likely to face loneliness when they have low family support and functional limitations, so these are things you can help with. More social interaction and less family strain have been shown in research to reduce loneliness significantly and improve wellness in older people. 

There are even biological components of loneliness researchers have identified. For example, leukocytes are white blood cells that play a role in the immune response. In studies looking at both socially isolated animals and humans, researchers have found an increased expression of the genes involved in inflammation and a decrease in the expression of genes that provide an antiviral response. 

Below are some of the ways that socializing is important for seniors. You can keep these in mind if you have someone in your family or that you love who you want to make sure stays socially connected. 

Health Risks of Isolation

When not only seniors but people of any age are facing social isolation, it can contribute to worse outcomes in terms of physical and mental health. Some of the complications of isolation that can affect older people and often people in other age groups include:

  • Hypertension

  • Cardiac failure

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia

  • Poor sleep quality

  • Higher risk of early death

  • Unhealthy lifestyle choices and behaviors like not being physically active or drinking excessively

  • Reduced immune system function 

  • Higher risk of chronic illnesses

Below, we go more into the benefits of increases in socialization for seniors. 

Better Physical Health

Socially active people also tend to be more physically active. Social activities often correlate with physical activity like walking with friends or taking group exercise classes. If you have a senior in your family who is dealing with loneliness, encouraging them to take a group exercise class can be a good way to help them be physically and mentally more active. 

There are often group classes specifically for older people. 

As was briefly touched on above, isolation can contribute to immune system problems. On the other hand, increased social activity is tied to a stronger, more robust immune system. 

Cognitive Benefits

For many seniors, a concern is cognitive decline or the potential for diseases like dementia to develop. Socializing can reduce the risk of cognitive decline or slow it down. 

Socially active seniors are more stimulated and tend to stay mentally sharper and cognitively engaged. 

Mental Health

No matter the age, people who are isolated or lonely tend to be at higher risk of various mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. Socializing helps combat mental health issues and create a more positive outlook and sense of mental well-being. 

As people age, their self-esteem can decline, and they may feel frustrated that they can’t do what they once did. Being social helps build confidence and promotes higher self-esteem. 

Having a sense of belonging can improve your view of yourself and the world around you. 


We all need people around us who hold us accountable. When we feel accountable to other people, we’re more likely to practice self-care and maintain daily responsibilities. When you have a social network that holds you accountable, you’re more likely to prioritize taking care of yourself. 

That’s extremely important for seniors, who might otherwise disengage not just socially, but from taking care of themselves in their daily lives. 

Having a social life also gives you a sense of purpose and meaning. 

For older people who may be retired from their careers and living on their own, purpose and meaning through socializing are essential in being fulfilled and feeling like life is worthwhile. 

If you have an older loved one, even if you don’t live close to them, you can make sure you’re regularly checking up on them and just serving as a listening ear. You can also help research group activities they might like to participate in where they live.

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