It's Healthy to be Social

Summer Issue

Do you ever feel lonely? Do you wish you had more social connections? Do you ever long to get out more and be with family or friends? You’re not alone.

A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) reveals that more than one-third of adults aged 45 and older feel lonely. Moreover, nearly onefourth of adults aged 65 and up are socially isolated. In other words, growing older often means growing lonelier.

Loneliness is linked to some hazardous health conditions. The NASEM study points out that social isolation significantly increases one’s risk of premature death from all causes. It’s also associated with a 50% increased risk of dementia, a 29% increased risk of heart disease, and a 32% increased
risk of stroke. What’s more, loneliness also puts you at risk for depression and anxiety.

People are social animals

Having high-quality social relationships can help us live healthier lives. A strong social life has been linked with many health benefits, including less risk of depression and a longer life span.

A 2019 study in the Journals of Gerontology found that older adults who interacted with people beyond their usual social circle of family and close friends were more likely to have higher levels of physical activity, more positive moods, and fewer negative feelings.

Tips for living a socially active life People are living longer than ever before, and seniors are the fastest-growing demographic in America. Retirement isn’t the end of the road, it’s the beginning of a new chapter. Here are some ideas on how you can stay socially engaged.

    Now that you have more time on your hands, why not take up a new interest, or rediscover an old one? There’s painting, photography, gardening, traveling…so many options.
    Volunteering offers an opportunity to help out in your community, meet new people, and make positive change. Imagine how good that will make you feel.
    Playing games is one of the best ways to socialize and keep your mind sharp. Tennis, pickleball, golf, bowling, daily crossword, Sudoku, anyone?
    An active mind is less susceptible to age-related cognitive decline. When you take a class at a university, community college, or local organization, you can gain new knowledge and new social contacts.
    Your local community senior center is the perfect place to participate in new activities and make new connections. In this social club setting, you’ll find classes, activities, day trips, and more.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Harvard Health, National Institute on Aging

You’ve Got a Pal in Papa

Meet your new family-on-demand: Papa. Papa pairs older adults and their families with Papa Pals for companionship and help with daily tasks. Most plans include this benefit with up to 40 hours of support each year.*

What can a Papa Pal help you with?

Missing company? Chat by phone or play a game of chess with a Papa Pal.

A Papa Pal can teach you how to use a smartphone, tablet or computer. They can also provide help with light house cleaning or laundry.

From the grocery store to the bank, Papa is ready to do what you can’t.

Ready to get started with Papa?
Sign up at no additional cost by calling 1-888-905-8301(TTY: 711). Or download the Papa Pal app on the App Store or Google Play.

* See your Evidence of Coverage for plan details.