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Maintaining Social Ties for Optimal Aging

A gerontolgist's view of maintaining social ties for successful aging.

We all may assume there is importance to maintaining social ties for elders’ well-being and the latest edition of The Gerontologist acknowledges just that.  The article, The Importance of Neighborhood Social Cohesion and Social Capital for the Well Being of Older Adults in the Community by Cramm et al (2012) concludes that “…social capital of individuals, neighborhood services, social capital, and social cohesion are beneficial to the well-being of older adults.” They specifically noted obtaining support through direct ties of communication. However this may be accomplished, should be considered by families to support optimal aging. This is especially important to maintain with single and less affluent older adults. The study showed that more affluent and married older adults fared better through their own natural social affiliations. Neighbor social cohesion for each other was particularly acknowledged for the support aspects especially when one was sick and needed minor assistance such as shopping, transportation, picking up the mail, etc.

When one has a feeling of social connectivity there are also psychosocial aspects attributed to their well-being like higher self-esteem and enhancing mutual respect. There are also the benefits of intergenerational communication within families and friends to be considered. Historical information is protected and sharing between generations may improve familial relationships. Communicating with friends who understand may help maintain feelings of self-worth. Staying socially active whether it is through in-person visits, friendly phone calls, photo or video sharing, video chats, texting or email correspondence are all options for optimal and successful aging. Elders can live their best life maintaining communication with others.

Thanks for reading ;-)

Your Foster City Friend

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