A group of seniors getting social at McLean enjoying a barbecue

Get Out There and Get Social… It’s the Healthy Thing To Do!

July 5, 2022

If the past two years has taught us anything, it’s that social isolation can have an incredibly negative affect on the mental health and well-being of people — all people. When it comes to seniors however, the health risks associated with isolation are even greater. According to the CDC, a study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine concluded that social isolation significantly increased a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, including dementia. Alternatively, according to Psychology Today, socialization is an incredibly important part of remaining healthy for all human beings, especially seniors.

McLean’s Philosophy on Socialization

The entire staff at McLean has been hard at work ensuring residents have every opportunity possible to engage with each other in safe, healthy and life-affirming ways. In so doing, one thing has become eminently clear — when socialization occurs, residents thrive. McLean has formed a partnership between health professionals, and the life-enrichment team who meet weekly to discuss how to integrate the activities and aspects of the Boundless Wellness program, in a way that allows residents to remain active, social, and healthy, both mentally and physically. The goal is to achieve this in a way that’s tailored to work for each individual resident.

At McLean, socialization is considered an essential part of health maintenance. Activities offered at McLean serve a greater purpose than simply keeping residents busy. They exist to help maintain personal wellness, offering the members of our community multiple ways to connect with each other, which, in turn, helps keep both mind and body functioning in a manner that contributes to the overall wellness of our community.

An example of just some of the ways in which McLean accomplishes this for Independent Living residents in the Village can be found in every issue of our monthly Village newsletter. There are classes in strength and balancing as well as the Fit Beats Cardio Drumming classes, musical concerts, and games of all sorts. Additionally, there’s the monthly Village Happy Hour and parties celebrating occasions from National Pizza Party Day to the birthdays of our residents.

McLean sponsors a monthly book club which not only helps with socialization, but aids in keeping the minds of the resident sharp and focused. There’s also a gardening committee who volunteers time and talent to make our Village entrances and patio look as beautiful as they do.

While these activities and events are fun for the members of our community, they also serve the dual purpose of encouraging McLean’s residents to remain as social as possible. This, in turn, helps maintain a level of human contact that assists in the continued health and welfare of the entire McLean family.

What Other Experts Say

McLean’s methodologies are backed up by the opinions of many experts, including Certified Senior Advisor, Scott Grant, whose website, Graying With Grace is a wonderful resource for seniors seeking information on aging. “When we have somewhere to go,” says Grant, “it makes us feel like our lives have meaning, something essential to do and people to see. A vibrant social life might assist us in waking up with excitement and expectation for the day ahead. In turn, seniors with a high level of socializing tend to live longer. Spending meaningful time with people we care about serves as a constant reminder that life is worth living.”

Additionally, says Grant, “seniors who participate in social activities are in better physical health than those who do not. They have lower blood pressure, stronger immune systems, fewer aches and pains and health issues connected with a lack of exercise because they are more active. Socialization can be extremely beneficial to a senior’s cognitive health. Consistent positive social contacts keep elders motivated, mentally alert and intellectually engaged. Improvements in these cognitive domains, not unexpectedly, can aid in the prevention of general cognitive declines, such as memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.”

As it happens, psychology and mental health among seniors has received increasing attention over the past few decades, especially as relates to overall health. It’s been clinically demonstrated, seniors living in isolation are at a far greater risk of depression, than those engaging in more social activities. According to The Lancet, depression has been shown to worsen disability, increase the severity of chronic illness, raise mortality rates and cause suffering for seniors and their families.

Fortunately, socialization has been shown to be one of the most effective ways for seniors to improve their mental health. According to the American Public Health Association, socialization improves mood, cognition, memory recall, and is associated with healthy behaviors, including exercise. Connecting with family and friends through technology, exercise, games like bingo and cards and other activities has a profound effect on the mental health of seniors.

At McLean, getting social is not just part of our Boundless Wellness philosophy. It’s a large part of our mission to help the members of our community stay active, physically, and mentally healthy, and able to live their lives as fully as possible.  

If you’d like to learn more about McLean, the McLean Village or our Boundless Wellness program, call (860) 658-3786, to arrange a personal tour.

Skip to content