5 Helpful Ways to Stay Connected and Healthy

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Do you ever feel "off" on days when you haven't been able to connect with friends and family? There’s a good reason for that.

Studies continue to reveal the many benefits of social interaction at any age – but especially to help us live happier (and healthier) as we grow older. In fact, staying connected can help boost your immune system, decrease blood pressure and even keep depression, Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer at bay.

Here are 5 helpful tips and tricks to stay connected at any age.

1. Social Media

From Facebook and Twitter to Instagram, Pinterest and more – social media sites are a great way to connect with friends and family, stay up-to-date on community events and get inspired. 53 percent of Americans age 65 and older use the internet and email, according to a recent Pew study, and one-third of them use social networking sites. Beside keeping you connected to friends and family, social media sites might be good for keeping your brain sharp. A recent small-scale study of adults with an average age of 79 found that participants who used Facebook had increased mental abilities.

2. Captioned Telephone

Most of us will experience some form of age-related hearing loss. It doesn't mean you have to avoid the phone! A captioned telephone, like CapTel, offers those with hearing loss the ability to talk with friends and family with ease. When you place a CapTel call, a captioner transcribes what the other person is saying so you are able to both hear and read the conversation simultaneously. You’ll enjoy talking on the phone again.

3. Learn Something New

Though it's a cliché, it's true – you're never too old to learn. Learning new things (like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or other engaging social media sites) keeps your mind active. But it’s not all about social media and computers. Why not ask a friend to take a pottery class with you? Or enlist a friend to teach you how to do something you've always wanted to try. You may just discover a fun hobby that you never imagined you'd enjoy.

4. Exercise

Exercise is an essential part of keeping your body healthy. Even just a few minutes a day can make a big difference. You can join a gym to meet new people, and you'll kill two birds with one stone – physical and mental fitness. Some gyms offer classes specifically for older adults. It’s a great way to meet interesting, active people – and keep yourself active, too.

5. Join A Club

Find or organize a breakfast, book, craft or volunteer club with a group of friends. Or, how about playing cards or board games? Having a set time to get together every week or month will give you something to look forward to and make it easier for others to join.

You can take advantage of technology to stay connected to loved ones far away, but also find fun social activities closer to home.

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FEDERAL LAW PROHIBITS ANYONE BUT REGISTERED USERS WITH HEARING LOSS FROM USING INTERNET PROTOCOL (IP) CAPTIONED TELEPHONES WITH THE CAPTIONS TURNED ON. IP Captioned Telephone Service may use a live operator. The operator generates captions of what the other party to the call says. These captions are then sent to your phone. There is a cost for each minute of captions generated, paid from a federally administered fund. No cost is passed on to the CapTel user for using the service.