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How and why seniors should stay socially engaged

Experts believe that in addition to engaging in regular exercise and eating well, social networking can contribute to the health of seniors. As you become advanced in age, changes that occur in the brain can make it challenging for you to absorb new information or recall things. In people who are afflicted with dementia, the impairment within the brain can become so serious that it prevents them from living normal lives. While in some cases cognitive decline is inevitable, in other situations, keeping your mind active or socializing with your peers may help deflect dementia and depression.

According to a study performed by the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, seniors who are very social had a 70 percent lower rate of cognitive decline than their peers who were less social. In another study that was conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, there was a link between internet use and a 30 percent decrease in symptoms of depression.

There are many ways to maintain social connections and improve intellectual stimulation. Keep in touch with relatives, friends, neighbors and church members. If they’re not geographically close, you can maintain contact via email and Facebook. Statistics from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project revealed that people age 74 and older comprise the fastest-growing group throughout online social networks.

Additionally, playing mind games, including doing crossword puzzles and playing chess can help keep your mind active. Playing with others can help you remain socially connected. It may also be beneficial to join a club, such as a book club or garden club, so that you can meet new people and form relationships with others who have comparable interests.

Upon retirement, several people have been known to experience stress. If you desire to return to work, think about obtaining a part-time job. Encore.org and the Work Search program provide help to seniors who wish to return to work. Volunteering can give you a sense of purpose, and make you feel as though you are making a contribution. You can learn more about volunteer opportunities from organizations, such as Senior Corps. Studies indicate that seniors who volunteer have a diminished risk of death in comparison to their peers who do not. Offering to babysit grandchildren or other young relatives can help you stay physically active and enhance your sense of well-being.

The elder law attorneys at Hook Law Center assist Virginia families with will preparation, trust & estate administration, guardianships and conservatorships, long-term care planning, special needs planning, veterans benefits, and more. To learn more, visit http://www.hooklawcenter.com/ or call 757-399-7506.

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