Image of smiling elderly woman and younger woman on a couch pointing at a tablet devices screen.

As you get older, continuing to be socially active by maintaining and building relationships with friends, family and the community is beneficial to your health, happiness and overall quality of life.

Being lonely negatively influences our mental and physical health and can lead to a faster cognitive decline, increasing the risks of diseases such as dementia and potentially reducing our life expectancy. However, studies have shown that social networks tend to get smaller with age, so how do we maintain a healthy level of social activity later in life?

How to stay socially active

Stay connected with friends and family

Value your family, friends and community and put in the effort to spend time with them on a regular basis.

Some ways to spend time with family and friends include:

  • Having dinner together
  • Going on a walk together
  • Passing knowledge onto younger generations (e.g. grandchildren)

For family and friends that don’t live nearby, it is important to still make an effort to stay in contact with them by regularly talking to them over the phone or by organising to go see them (if you are able to).

Image of multi-generational Indigenous family sitting on couch with the kids look at a smartphone and tablet device.

Don’t be afraid to make new friends 

As your social network gets smaller with age, don’t be afraid to meet new people and build new friendships. This doesn’t just mean making friends with people your own age as well, as having younger friends can also be beneficial to your health as their higher energy levels may boost your own.

Volunteering within your community to help out a family or participating in a community initiative can be a great way to meet new people and form friendships. It has also been connected to a greater sense of purpose, especially when volunteering by caring for the country (building a stronger connection to country).

In summary, having a diverse social network between family, friends and the community leads to a happier and healthier quality of life.

If you would like to get into contact with some social support or volunteer groups in your local area but are not sure who to contact, our friendly Information Officers at IDEAS would be happy to help place you into contact with the relevant services. 


Information sourced from:

Help Guide
The Psychologist
Senior Life

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people please be advised that there may be images, videos or names of people on this website that are deceased, which may cause feelings of sorrow or sadness.