The Importance of Social Capital As We Get Older | Soleil

The Importance of Social Capital As We Get Older

importance of community as we age
Want to boost your health as an active (older) adult? Live in a community that encourages social connections and stimulates your social capital. You may already know that as we age, it becomes challenging to make and keep friends. This is especially true after retirement. You’re no longer going to a workplace that offers lots of easy-going socialization. It’s also likely that you’re finding yourself in a (now) oversized home, where the kids have already flown the coupe, and the majority of your neighbors are at work all day. No one prefers to live a hermit-like lifestyle, but seniors often do because they are siloed in a subdivision that doesn’t facilitate a lot of social connections. So, in between going to church or the grocery store, seniors can often sit at home, watch too much TV, and play too much computer solitaire. It’s not an ideal way to live out the golden years of life. Instead, seniors should be focused on boosting social capital, as it is a vital part of living a great life. Here’s why it’s essential:

Strengthens friend networks

Social capital is defined as a network of relationships between people in their particular society. That “capital” refers more to the value that you and your neighbors provide one another as being helpful and trustworthy. Think about how many neighbors and friends you have in your current community whom you can rely on if you need assistance (and vice-versa). Whether you need a ride to the doctor’s office or a friend simply needs to borrow a cup of sugar, living in a community (like ours) will increase your social capital. A neighborhood that prioritizes socialization will help you significantly grow and enhance strong, long-lasting friendships.

Enhances your physical mobility

Living in a neighborhood that fosters support and engagement from others will naturally result in more physical activity. Having that increased social capital among your peers will make you feel more comfortable going for a stroll, taking fitness classes, using the gym, swimming in the pool, and embarking on other enjoyable physical activities. It’s especially true when you do them with other fun-loving, like-minded friends. Soon, healthy fitness habits form which keep you happily active for a long time to come.

Improves overall health

Of course, if you are more physically active, your health will automatically improve too. But beyond that, studies show that neighborhoods that facilitate more social interactions help to increase healthy behaviors as well. These include things like getting regular physicals, dental check-ups, cancer screenings, and more — all of which can diagnose problems early before they get too serious. Caring individuals with high social capital are more likely to encourage wellness and share valuable health information among good friends and neighbors. Finding the best nearby dentist, for example, is no longer a daunting task.

Decreases cognitive decline

As we age, keeping your brain sharp is more challenging. Growing older, we often find that we’re becoming more disengaged from society. This can have a serious impact on cognition and brain health. Studies have found that frequent social contact can significantly reduce that risk. In fact, one study states that “the rate of cognitive decline was found to be 70 percent less in people with frequent social contact than those with low social activity.” 70 percent is nothing to sneeze at. Social interactions help to keep your brain firing on all cylinders. So taking part in various clubs, sports, dances, games, and other cognitive pursuits all help to not only build your social capital but boost your intellectual health too.

An award-winning active adult community like ours is the perfect place to grow your social capital and to enjoy the positive results. We can show you how. Start planning your visit today for a better, healthier, happier life tomorrow.