Is a Smaller Social Group Your Style

As we get on in years, most people become more selective about who they spend their time with and seek out a social circle that holds similar values as well as interests.  And a new study out of the University of Leeds has discovered that seniors may be on to something; not only do they report a greater sense of well-being than their younger counterparts but even with smaller social networks, older adults are more satisfied with their relationships.  

Although social isolation is common among elderly adults, not all seniors are sad and lonely.  According to research published by the American Psychological Association in the journal Psychology and Aging, the face-to-face relationships that older adults have nurtured throughout their lives may offer more satisfaction than the more numerous and frequently online social networks younger adults may have developed.

In other words, adults under the age of 45 may be acquainted with a larger group of people but many of these relationships are peripheral or impersonal and therefore not as fulfilling as the smaller circle of people who older adults interact with regularly.  Having just a handful of close friends one can rely on and enjoy spending time with is more valuable than hundreds of followers on Instagram. 

The good news is that social media can help facilitate friendships and gatherings for adults of all ages with other like-minded people offline and in person.  It’s never too late to make new social connections and with groups like Meetup, people with similar interests can make plans to get together for hikes, bike rides, dancing, photos walks, book clubs, language conversation or whatever they enjoy.

For older adults, it’s more important than ever to create and nurture a friend and family circle that can provide social interaction, especially after retirement, and a network of people to help support one another during times of loss, illness or injury.  Women often do better than men tending to important relationships, but there’s no time like the holidays to reach out to long lost friends and rekindle those connections.  Pen a card or pick up the phone and who knows what might happen?