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How to stay social and active as you age

People have the same basic social and emotional needs at every age. However, as you get older, making sure you meet your less tangible needs can be as important as addressing your physical safety. Not only does social support lead to better mental health, it can help maintain physical health as you age.1 

How to stay social and active as you get older

It can be easy to fall into isolation when contending with mental or physical health issues, and strong social networks provide invaluable support throughout life. 
  • Address physical limitations. Incontinence, difficulty with balance, poor vision, and hearing are contributors to someone avoiding social interactions. Take steps to mitigate circumstances that could keep you from feeling sociable. Mobility aids or similar adaptive devices could help you get around limitations. At the same time, socializing doesn’t have to include a lot of moving around—just having a meal with friends or family regularly can help bolster spirits. 
  • Use social media. Meet-up groups are available for people of all ages, as well as age-specific tours, day trips, and clubs for everything from theater and art to dog training and gardening. There’s very likely something for all ages and abilities. 
  • Look into community senior centers. These are great places to find people of varying ages to socialize and play games with. You can also find out about other groups and activities there. 
  • Consider volunteering. Nearly endless numbers of community organizations, local and beyond, need volunteers. Check out AmeriCorps Seniors, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that matches volunteers with service opportunities. 
  • Join spiritual or religious organizations. Religion or spiritual practices can be comforting and a source of emotional support for many people. Beyond that, communities involved in religion and spiritual pursuits can also offer opportunities for socializing and volunteering. 
  • Take up an outdoor hobby. Whether it’s golfing, fishing, or even simply taking long walks each day, spending time outdoors, in the sun, moving around is a great way to help set yourself up to age gracefully. 

Pets can help people stay engaged as they get older

Taking care of pets can give people a sense of purpose, and the bond formed between people and animals can have a positive effect on health. Studies have shown a link between pets and social and emotional support, and heart health—just petting a dog can lower blood pressure.2

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1. Sara J. Czaja, Jerad H. Moxley, and Wendy A. Rogers, "Social Support, Isolation, Loneliness, and Health Among Older Adults in the PRISM Randomized Controlled Trial," Frontiers in Psychology, October 5, 2021, 2. "Pets and Seniors," American Humane, July 26, 2023,

This information is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only.