Social wellness is the ability of an individual to interact effectively with the people around them and the insurance of a social support system being in place. Social support can look differently for the type of support, and can range from emotional support, to instrumental support (in the form of physical needs), and also informational support, which means giving information to help others.
According to the University of Minnesota’s Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing, research shows that:
- People who have a strong social network tend to live longer.
- The heart and blood pressure of people with healthy relationships respond better to stress.
- Strong social networks are associated with a healthier endocrine system and healthier cardiovascular functioning.
- Healthy social networks enhance the immune system’s ability to fight off infectious diseases.
West Central is committed to nurturing the social wellness of individuals in our area. Here are a few programs that are provided that are boosting social wellness.
As technology advances and our region enters a more online era, Cyber Seniors, a West Central program, is committed to bringing along our elderly population to this virtual world. Cyber Seniors is a program that connects senior citizens with a high school student. This program allows for the senior citizen to learn about how they can access the internet from a computer, tablet, or phone. There may be lessons on email, social media, cyber safety, and much more.
Connecting to friends and family via social media is beneficial to keeping older family members in the loop of what the people close to them are up to. The program itself also provides a unique opportunity for a young person to interact and socialize with an elder in their community.
Senior Care Pen Pal Program
West Central’s Senior Care found a way to encourage safe socialization during the midst of a pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic enhanced the isolation and loneliness that many seniors experience. Senior Care Pen Pals are matched with other seniors that have similar likes and hobbies. Writing kits are provided and include all the necessary items to become successful writing companions.
- note cards
- all occasion greeting cards
- ink pens
- motivational quotes to share
- postage stamps.
Writing another senior provides an additional form of social wellness that can expand a senior’s social network. The written letter format can include individuals who may not be using technology, or appreciate the chance to write letters to someone.
If you are 65 and older and are interested in learning how to become a Senior Care Pen Pal, please contact Senior Care staff at 660-476-2185.
Rides to Health and Wealth Program
Having the ability to connect with someone that can provide a ride to a doctor’s appointment, grocery store, or other meeting is essential to an individual’s social wellbeing. Having the ability to provide transportation to otherwise homebound individuals is beneficial to both the individuals and the economy, which can be boosted when more people have the ability to participate in it.
Read how this program impacted one Appleton City resident, here.
Multi-family housing property staff understand the importance of social wellness for the residents they provide care and services for. Providing wellness classes, entertainment, and programing are just a few ways to provide opportunities for residents living at one of our properties. The staff in the Multi-family Housing department know better than anyone that real care provides opportunities for socialization.
Read about the Goat Parade that was held on June 7th, a classic example of social wellbeing being attended to in a creative way.
For more information on social wellness, go to the University of Minnesota’s webpage here: July is Social Wellness Month | Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing (umn.edu)
Social wellness is important every month, not just July. West Central is committed to ensuring social wellbeing for our communities, from seniors to youth and everyone in between.