To Live Longer, Find Your People! Active Aging Week


There is no secret formula for how to age well; it takes strength, both physical and mental. You can strengthen your body through exercise, but how do you strengthen your mind? One way is through social engagement. 

Research shows that making social connections can be just as important to healthy aging as diet and exercise. People with strong social networks tend to live longer than those who are more isolated. They boost your immune system, helping you fight off everything from common colds to cancer. Connecting with others can increase feelings of security and inner peace while easing anxiety and depression. Before you know it, you’ll notice that you’re in a better mood, you have more energy, and you feel great about yourself. 

At 78, Don Simon is more active than ever. He and four friends call themselves “The Jersey Boys.” They love to barefoot waterski and go as often as they can. They tease each other and laugh non-stop. They have so much fun together that it takes their minds off the physical demands of waterskiing. Instead of dreading their time on the water, they look forward to each and every opportunity.  

“It is not like going to the gym at all,” said Simon. “Us getting together is not about trying to stay in shape. We don’t even think about that because we’re too busy keeping up with each other and doing what we love, which is being together.” 

Nan Druskin was a high school teacher. When she retired, she had nothing to do and soon became isolated, lonely, and depressed. She had to force herself to visit a neighborhood community center where she found a whole new purpose — helping motivate others to socially connect. “I have neighbors that hardly ever leave their home and don’t do anything,” said Druskin. “They just sit and watch TV. Even the ones who are younger than me seem so much older because they don’t go out and socialize. You need to get out and be active.” 

5 Ways You Can Become More Socially Engaged


  1. Develop a Sense of Purpose: We all need a reason to wake up in the morning. What makes you excited? Find something; a cause, a hobby, or an activity, and dive in. 
  1. Check In on Friends and Family: Call, write, or visit someone every day. Meet for coffee, go for walks, and plan activities. Be action-oriented and stay in touch. Right away you’ll see improvement in your attitude and outlook.  
  1. Make a Difference: Volunteer your time and attention, whether it’s for an organization or just helping friends and neighbors. You’ll feel your stress melt away, replaced by a feeling of fulfillment.  
  1. Get Fit: Take walks, swim laps, and invite others to join you. The more you do, the more you’ll want to do.  
  1. Get Online: Join social networking sites and reconnect with old friends. Join groups that share your interests. Try playing a social video game or classic board game online with a friend or family member.  

For more ideas, download Humana’s Loneliness & Social Isolation Resource Toolkit.  

Humana and the International Council on Active Aging are dedicated to helping you on your journey to whole-person health. Click here to download our complimentary Playbook for Active Aging: 7 Keys for Whole Person Health. Inside you’ll find tips to find your community. 

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