A shocking number of senior adults live all by themselves. While it’s always desirable to maintain independence as late into life as possible, regular social interaction is vital to keeping your brain sharp and functioning well as you grow older. Elder Care Alliance recommends engaging in meaningful social activities for optimal brain health. Here are a few things to know about the link between your social activities and your brain and how the Mercy Brown Bag Program can help you develop meaningful social relationships.
The Link Between Social Life and Brain Health
Research shows that socializing keeps the brain sharp. It also reduces the risk of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Too often, older adults who live alone don’t receive sufficient brain stimulation to keep them mentally sharp and astute. For these reasons and more, it’s important to ensure you and your older loved ones have frequent opportunities to get out of the house and interact with other people meaningfully.
Additional Health Benefits of Regular Social Interaction
In addition to keeping the brain healthy, regular social interaction offers a variety of other life-enriching benefits as well. They include:
- Increased self-esteem
- Improved mental health and reduced risk of depression
- A sense of accountability and responsibility
- A feeling of belonging
- More purposeful living
Older adults with full social lives are often much more dynamic and excited about life than those who spend most of their time alone. Creating and maintaining solid connections can significantly improve quality of life and provide an important sense of purpose. These things are essential for older adults who may struggle to learn their purpose when they’re no longer working or raising kids.
Ways for Older Adults to Socialize
There are plenty of opportunities for older adults to socialize with others and boost their brain health. Here are a few examples:
- Pick up a new hobby
- Visit friends regularly
- Enroll in a community cooking or crafting class
Volunteering is beneficial because it helps you engage socially with others while doing something meaningful for your community. Volunteering may help older adults ward off depression and feelings of loneliness.
How Mercy Brown Bag Helps People Socialize
Mercy Brown Bag is a volunteer program that provides free food to seniors in need. Volunteers sort, pack and distribute groceries to thousands of seniors who might go hungry otherwise. With over 500 senior volunteers, there are plenty of opportunities to meet new people when you donate your time and efforts to this program.
You can donate your time to the Mercy Brown Bag program in so many ways. In addition to sorting and filling bags of food, you can:
- Translate written materials
- Distribute bags to seniors
- Organize a food drive in your area
- Help with various administrative tasks
- Use your skills in any way that can benefit the organization
If you’d like to learn more about ways to volunteer, call the Mercy Brown Bag Program at 510-534-8540 (ext. 369). The social and brain health benefits are well worth your efforts!