Senior Tips | December 15, 2022
Many older adults lead active, fulfilling lives that break down the cliché of aging grandparents sitting passively on rocking chairs waiting for family visits. These older individuals are integrated, interactive participants in their communities, which in turn contributes to their overall wellbeing.
However, being active does not necessarily mean older adults need a full schedule of activities. Studies show engaging in daily life activities can give far-reaching benefits. Shopping, for example, is a daily life activity that can
provide physical benefits, stimulate cognitive processes, and function as a leisure pursuit that promotes social engagement. Actually this simple, daily activity may be an important factor in quality of life for seniors who may not be as active or physically well as their counterparts.
Since shopping is a common activity, most people don’t consider the cognitive processes involved in making day-to-day purchases. Shoppers must recognize items needed, decide where the items can be obtained, evaluate and compare before and after purchase, and determine value as compared to cost. While engaging in these processes can sometimes be attributed to buying habits, older adults who regularly shop are stimulating the areas of the brain involved in the decision-making process.
Also the physical benefits are notable as well. Seniors who shop regularly may actually live longer than those who don’t. One study of more than 1800 people aged 65 or over showed that participants who shopped every day, particularly men, had a 27% lower risk of death than those who did not. The researcher’s reason that it’s possible that the physical activity (walking) involved in shopping, the opportunity for these older individuals to buy food and make buying decisions that positively affected their health and good diet, and the social interaction may be key factors of this decreased risk.
This last factor, social interaction, is one that may affect life span because it affects the quality of life. Some studies of social engagement related to longevity show that seniors who’re more socially engaged had a 50% increased chance of living longer than those who were more isolated. The shopping experience can add to social engagement by allowing the older adult to meet and engage with new people during the outing as well as using the outing as a social experience with family and friends.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of shopping is that it can be enjoyed by most seniors. Finally with a little help from friends or family, seniors with mobility challenges can experience cognitive, health, and social benefits a day on the town can provide.
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