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The Gatesworth exercise class with residents reaching in the air.

Gatesworth Stories —

Social Wellness
Why Being Social Matters

How’s your social life?

The answer to that question may be an indication of your overall health.

As we age, many of us tend to think about physical health in ways we hadn’t before. We monitor and tend to heart health, mental acuity, vision, hearing, knees and hips—all so we can get the most out each day. We think about what we eat and how much we exercise so we can keep our bodies running optimally. It simply makes good sense to take care of what we have, from head to toe, because we want to enjoy life to its fullest.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it makes good sense to pay attention to—and tend—our social lives, as well. In fact, the NIH notes that the social connections we have with others “help protect health and lengthen life.”

On its Social Wellness Checklist, the NIH says: “Scientists are finding that our links to others can have powerful effects on our health.” And those connections needn’t be romantic in nature, or exclusive to family members. Your interactions with friends and acquaintances, neighbors and colleagues affect your biology and your well-being.

Now that we are emerging from a pandemic that has kept many of us isolated for long periods, you might take some time to assess your social health. If you’re looking for ways to improve that part of your life, the NIH offers some suggestions for finding and making connections:

  • Join a group that focuses on a hobby you find interesting
  • Take a class on a favorite subject—or sign up for one that explores new ideas
  • Make new friends—and keep your body moving—in a yoga or tai chi class
  • Offer your skill as a singer, musician or actor by joining a choir, community orchestra or theater group
  • Volunteer! Try the library, neighborhood school or hospital
  • Say “yes” to neighborhood events
  • Travel somewhere new, whether a new county or country

You don’t have to fill your social calendar—unless you want to. Each of us has different needs when it comes to social interaction; some are energized by it, others find it fulfilling but need a good deal of quiet time, too. The point is to ensure you are connecting with people in ways you find uplifting. If you aren’t, it’s important to look for ways to increase your social health.

And if you’re a part of The Gatesworth community, you can easily find ample opportunities to connect with others, whether you choose to participate in one of the available cultural events, lectures, fitness classes, gardening opportunities or onsite dining options. The Gatesworth is truly a community, made up of active seniors who have chosen to live fulfilling lives.

If you’re considering a move—perhaps it’s time to downsize or find a community that suits your particular needs—we’d love to talk with you; call 314-993-0111. Our values are grounded in the value of social wellness.

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