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Top 5 Ways for the Aging to Remain Socially Engaged

Just as fun as trading chocolate pudding for potato chips in grade school.

© iStockphoto/cydebergerac

No matter how old you are, engaging socially with other people is important.Through socialization, we adjust our perceptions, increase our knowledge, acquire new skills -- and just have fun. Interpersonal relationships are often the most important part of a person's life, and the mental stimulation they provide never gets old, even if you do.

Aging presents a series of role transitions: ending a career for retirement, becoming a grandparent and perhaps even counting on help from the same children who once counted on you. Throughout all of these changes, socialization provides us with a way to learn through watching others navigate their own ways through these changes. Social interaction also allows for the sharing, processing and comparison of perspectives and thoughts on aging and what it means to you on a personal level.

Frequent social contact has a health benefit, too. It can help keep seniors from falling into a depression, the likelihood of which increases as we age [source: National Institute on Aging]. Loneliness is often a factor, as social networks tend to shrink as the years go on. Studies have shown that socialization among seniors has a positive effect on cognitive abilities, a good sign in the fight against Alzheimer's and other dementias [source: Crooks].

Kids make friends at recess and adults become buddies in the break room, but how do you keep your social life active as you get older? Keep reading for five good ways.

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