September is Healthy Aging Month, a month dedicated to keeping yourself fit, eating right and making sure everything operates properly as you age. There are a host of little changes you can make to keep your blood pressure down, your weight on target, your muscles strong and your joints flexible, things like walk more, drink more water, stand up straight and see your dentist. Things like regular medical checkups and diet are always important, but as you age they become even more important for maintaining quality of life.
But the physical side of things is only one part of health. Older people also need to maintain an active social calendar. According to the National Institute of Health’s Institute on Aging, research studies show a strong correlation between social interaction and health and well-being among older adults. Going to the zoo with friends, hosting card games, house calls and cookouts aren’t just recreation; they are important health measures. Studies suggest social isolation has significant impacts on older adults.
From the NIH website:
- Social relationships are consistently associated with biomarkers of health.
- Positive indicators of social well-being may be associated with lower levels of interleukin-6 in otherwise healthy people. Interleukin-6 is an inflammatory factor implicated in age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer.
- Some grandparents feel that caring for their grandchildren makes them healthier and more active. They experience a strong emotional bond and often lead a more active lifestyle, eat healthier meals, and may even reduce or stop smoking.
- Social isolation constitutes a major risk factor for morbidity and mortality, especially in older adults.
- Loneliness may have a physical as well as an emotional impact. For example, people who are lonely frequently have elevated systolic blood pressure.
- Loneliness is a unique risk factor for symptoms of depression, and loneliness and depression have a synergistic adverse effect on well-being in middle-aged and older adults.
More research is needed to fully understand the links between social engagement and health, but one thing is clear: It is important. There can be no denying social interaction is crucial for a full and healthy life.
That’s where ITNs come in. ITNs are great for getting to those medical appointments that attend to physical health factors, but our services are not restricted to medical appointments. Our drivers are happy to offer arm-through-arm, door-through-door service to the movies, to dinner, to the bowling alley, or anywhere else you want to go. That means social engagements don’t have to stop just because you stop driving. Whether you need a ride to your grandchild’s play or your sister’s house for dinner, we’re ready to pick you up.
Because mobility is part of health. Let us help you live fully.