Harvard Men's Health Watch

Social engagement and healthy aging

A rich web of human relationships enhances your health and stimulates your mind and memory.

Most health-conscious men know their blood pressure and cholesterol. But can you recite your Lubben Social Network Scale (LSNS) score? (Take the brief test below to find out what yours is.) The score reflects your level of "social engagement," or the richness of your social network—including close friends and family. How connected you are to other people can be as important to healthy aging as not smoking or maintaining a good weight. Social engagement may also help to preserve your memory.

"For helping to prevent memory loss, social engagement is very important," says Dr. Suzanne E. Salamon, associate chief for clinical geriatrics at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "Talking and interacting with people takes energy and makes you work harder, which stimulates your brain."

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