“Successful Agers”: Better Aging Through Social Participation

Originally featured July 17, 2023 on InvestigAge
By Jacqueline Stephens

Getting involved in social activities can promote well-being, prevent loneliness, and keep you connected to your community. Social participation is especially important as you get older. While all social activity is beneficial, some activities are more strongly linked with positive aging. A recent study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health investigated links between social activity and aging in Canadian adults.  

The study included 7,623 Canadian older adults who were deemed to be “successful agers” and were at least 60 years at the follow-up period. Researchers defined successful agers as those who met specific criteria related to physical, psychological, emotional, social, and self-rated wellness, in order to capture both objective and subjective facets of successful aging. Of the original sample, ~40% were considered to be aging successfully. The social activities assessed were: church or religious activities, educational or cultural activities, service or fraternal organization activities, community or professional organization activities, volunteer work, and recreational activities.  

Results showed that participating in certain social activities were more beneficial for aging than others. After controlling for several covariates like age and gender, only volunteer work and recreational activities were associated with higher odds of later successful aging. Specifically, volunteering was associated with a 17% higher likelihood and recreational activity with a 15% higher likelihood of successful aging.


Continued on InvestigAge. Read the full article here.