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Healthy Aging and Staying Connected

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Keeping up with friendships and social connections — and making new ones — is important to your quality of life and overall well-being. Although social networks often get smaller as people age, having a close friend or family member who you can easily talk with can help you to feel cared for and valued. Social support can protect you from isolation, loneliness, and depression.

Participating in social or productive activities that you enjoy may also help maintain your well-being. For instance, older adults who participate in activities they find meaningful, like volunteering, report feeling healthier and happier. Group physical activity, such as a dance class or walking group, can foster social relationships. Physical activity also boosts your physical and mental health. Learn more about staying physically active in later life in our

staying active section.

Senior centers, community recreation centers, and places of worship are places to look for social groups or ways to get involved. The National Institute on Aging provides these examples of social and productive activities that you may like:

Volunteering at a library, hospital, school, or other organization

Joining a senior center

Playing cards and other games with your friends

Going to the theater, a movie, or a sporting event

Traveling with a group of older adults, perhaps a retiree group

Visiting friends and family

Gardening in your backyard or at a community park

Organizing a park clean-up through your local recreation center

Taking a cooking class

Singing in a choral group

Joining a local theater troupe

Forming or joining a book club

Going dancing

Taking a group exercise class

Playing a musical instrument, learning a new instrument

Joining a group interested in a hobby like knitting or scrapbooking

Getting a part-time job

More resources on healthy aging and mental health

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.