How staying social keeps you mentally sharp

How do you stay mentally sharp? Studies show that these three actions may help:

  1. Engage in brain-stimulating activities.
  2. Keep your body moving.
  3. Eat healthfully.

These all add up—not just to a healthier body, but a sharper brain.* There’s one more thing, however, that’s key to keeping those neurons firing as we age. Mounting research shows that staying socially engaged can benefit older adults by keeping brains working properly, and even help to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s. *

So while getting together with friends is beneficial one its own, for a fun bonus brain boost, why not add a social component to those three healthy brain habits? Here’s how:


  1. Stay mentally active and engaged

    What’s your definition of “staying mentally active?” It could be taking an online class, volunteering, playing an instrument, or any activity that helps you live with purpose and joy – and possibly help to keep your brain healthier for longer.*

    Add social smarts : Reading, for example, is great for our brains; joining a book club can be even better. You’ll expand your reading selections and participate in energizing and fun discussions.


  2. Keep moving

    Science tells us that as we age it’s important to keep moving, in any way we are capable. Choose an activity you enjoy and aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week.*

    Add social smarts : For example, instead of taking a walk alone, join a walking group. Many seniors find the socializing just as important as the exercise.


  3. Choose a healthy diet

    There’s no doubt that a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and soy—with moderate alcohol intake and fewer sweets—leads to a better body and brain. A 2015 McMaster University study found that older adults who followed that style of diet in their middle years were 24 per cent less likely to experience cognitive decline.*

    Add social smarts : It’s not just what you eat, but who you eat with! Dining with others is not only enjoyable; it also leads to a healthier diet and protects against the negative health effects of social isolation. If you live in a retirement residence, you have daily, built-in opportunities to eat with others; if you live alone, make a point to break bread with friends often.


Find out more about Chartwell’s active living philosophy, helping residents to stay socially, mentally, and physically engaged.