Published on March 14, 2016

Connecting with friends is good fun—and good for you

Winter is winding down.

So why not let a little sunshine—and socializing—into your life?

Women laughing“Spring is the perfect time to go out and have fun,” says Alex Casiano, MHA, MSW, LSW, a Mercy LIFE social services manager.

There’s a bonus to the good times too. Connecting with others may play an important role in good health as you age.

The pros of people

“It’s very important to keep personal relationships and social connections active,” Casiano says.

The reason? If you’re alone too much, that may take a toll on your health.

Isolation puts you at risk for depression. And research suggests there may be a link to thinking problems, like dementia, too.

“When you’re not talking to people on an ongoing basis, there may be some memory loss associated with that,” Casiano says.

Getting out and being active with others can also help you stay fit. “Seniors with strong social relationships often have lower blood pressure and less cardiovascular disease,” Casiano notes.

Make your own fun

Here are a few suggestions from Casiano and other experts to get the good times going.

Casiano’s advice: Remember to be open to new activities, as well as those you already enjoy. “You’ll never know what you might like unless you try it,” he says.

For instance, you might:

  • Invite friends or family to a picnic in the park or to a nearby cafe.
  • Join a book club or hobby group. Libraries often host them.
  • Take an art, music or computer class. Social media can be a great way to stay connected with distant loved ones.
  • Volunteer at a hospital, school, animal shelter or nursing home. “Many people find purpose in helping others,” Casiano says.
  • Check out the fun at a senior center. You might see people eating lunch, playing cards, shooting pool or making friends.