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Social interaction recognized as key component of healthy aging

July 2, 2013

Many different factors are involved in healthy aging. Physical activity and eating a balanced diet are undoubtedly crucial aspects, but they aren't the only things to consider. Social interaction can often be just as important for seniors, and experts have noticed distinct differences in the well-being of older adults who are socially engaged compared to those who are more closed off, the Poughkeepsie Journal reports.

Social interaction can take on many different forms for seniors. While some older adults elect to continue their education, others may choose to volunteer or re-enter the workforce. Even simple activities such as joining a club can yield significant benefits. The same holds true for seniors who may have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment. Jean Curlee, a proponent of social interaction who hosts weekly classes, has seen an influx in the number of seniors who recognize the advantage of a socially active lifestyle. 

"The people feel it's helping, and the classes keep growing," she told the newspaper. "There's a reason they're coming - either it's a good time, or they feel it's helping them remember things. Either way, it's a good thing."

There's ample evidence suggesting Curlee is headed down the right path. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, seniors who maintain social connections often experience a lower risk of cardiovascular issues and mental health problems.