As discussed in our previous blog, senior isolation can result in chronic loneliness, which can result in other health problems such as depression and high blood pressure. This is why it is essential for older adults to socialize with others regularly.
While isolation can be prevented by living in a senior living community, it is also possible for older adults to stay connected with others, even when living on their own. For example, if your mother lives alone, she can still have friends and family visit (when it is safe, of course), and spend time with others in order to reduce feelings of loneliness.
Besides the fact that socialization can help reduce senior loneliness, it can also improve seniors’ overall quality of life. It can make a world of difference for you or your loved one to have support from family and peer groups, especially when going through difficult times. In this blog, we will discuss five benefits of socialization for seniors.
1. It helps seniors stay active
Socializing is not just a great way to keep in touch with family and friends; it is also a great way to stay moving throughout the day. Research has even shown that socialization can help older adults be less sedentary.
For example, if you or your loved one have a passion for helping others, volunteering in your community is a great way to interact with people. Also, if you or your loved one have a hobby such as painting, reading, exercising, etc., there may be many classes to take in your local senior center. Religious organizations are also a great way to stay connected with others. Of course, make sure to keep CDC recommendations in mind when going outside of your home.
In addition, if you or your loved one have grandchildren who live nearby, try to spend as much time with them as possible. Do a few arts and crafts with them at home, or bring them to your local park for a relaxing stroll. Research has even shown that some older adults believe that caring for their grandchildren makes them healthier and more active.
2. It improves mood
As mentioned previously, social isolation can result in serious mental illnesses such as depression. However, staying socially active can result in a boost of mood, especially for seniors who live alone.
Instead of bringing about loneliness, socializing with others can bring happiness. If you are not able to see anyone in person due to the current situation in the world, make sure to connect with others via the phone, email, or text messages. There are still various ways to stay connected with others while physically being apart.
3. It reduces cognitive decline
About 5.8 million Americans who are age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2020. This number is projected to grow even more as the years go on. While you cannot completely prevent you or your loved one’s chances of developing a disease like this, you can strive to live as healthy a life as possible. This includes socializing.
Recent studies have even found that social isolation was associated with about a 50% increased risk of developing dementia. Connecting with people through social activities may help to reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. It is best to seek out some form of socialization throughout the week in order to harbor good brain health.
4. It helps seniors maintain a sense of purpose
Do you or your loved one ever feel like the days continually drag on? Spending time with a social group can help you to have a sense of purpose.
Instead of doing everything the same each day (as many of us have experienced during this time of the pandemic), look forward to giving a friend a call or spending time with your family at home in new ways. This could include having a movie night every Monday or cooking dinner together on Sundays.
5. It helps reduces stress
It looks like meditating on your own is not the only way to get rid of stress and improve mental health. Socializing works, too! Having a good group of people around can help you or your loved one feel encouraged during challenging times. This social support can also enhance self-esteem, alleviate the effects of emotional stress, and even lower cardiovascular risks.
Along with some of those health benefits includes socialization’s ability to help people live longer. According to research, greater social connection is associated with a 50% reduced risk of early death. This is another important reason why older adults should value spending time with others in whatever way they can.
Overall, socialization has a variety of benefits for seniors. Of course, many of the social activities mentioned in this blog should be done with precautions during this time, as social distancing should still be considered important.
While you or your loved one may not be able to visit with family and friends this summer as you did before, know that it is possible to still connect with them in different ways. Give them a call or video chat with them to ask how they are doing. It is an effective way to still get the social connection you need.
Remember that as you or your loved one continue to age, finding ways to stay connected with others will be even more important. Try not to reach the point of total isolation, as this can seriously impact you or your loved one’s health in the long run. Also, know that connecting with others can positively impact their day, making them feel less lonely, too!
At Royal Estates of El Paso, we continue to make sure our residents feel connected with others, even though we are practicing social distancing. If you have questions about how we accomplish this in our independent living and assisted living community, visit our website to request your personal consultation.
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