Social and emotional connections
By Rachel Allen, Dementia Carers Count
Generally we are social creatures, and need to feel loved and have a sense of belonging. Social and emotional connections can have a range of benefits for our mental and physical health.
The benefits of social and emotional connection
- People who are socially engaged may have a lower risk of developing dementia, but there is not yet enough evidence to confirm this, according to Age UK.
- Social connections help to:
- Improve your quality of life
- Boost your mental health
- Help you live longer
The importance of belonging
Research has found that a sense of belonging to a group or community can help protect against depression and improve cognition in older people as well as improving physical health.
There are many ways to maintain and improve social connections:
- Join a club or group. There are a whole range of groups and clubs available for different interests, from specific dementia groups like support groups and Singing for the Brain, to more general groups such as walking and book clubs.
- Join an online club. If it’s not easy to get out of the house, perhaps join an online club. These have seen a huge rise in popularity due to lockdown.
- Schedule a weekly phone call or video call. If you find it difficult to get together in person, scheduling a time to catch up once a week can give you both something to look forward to.
- Volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people. If you are able, consider volunteer for a few hours at a local charity, library or community garden.