Just as houseplants deteriorate without the proper attention and care, people can also be adversely affected by a lack of daily companionship and socialization. And the constant need for love and company doesn’t disappear with age. On the contrary, seniors require twice as much support and care.
In this article, we’ll discuss the socialization benefits for older adults and give you some useful ideas on how you can improve seniors’ lives.
The Importance of Socializing
The COVID-19 pandemic, loss of mobility, death of family members, or simply bad mental health put seniors’ life on hold – they became isolated. According to the latest seniors’ socializing research, 43% of Americans older than 60 reported feeling lonely. Additionally, the study revealed that isolated and lonely seniors have a 50% higher risk of dementia, a 30% higher risk of heart stroke, and a 26% higher risk of all-cause mortality.
And it doesn’t come as a surprise – socialization is a powerful mechanism that is considered to be one of the most effective tools for seniors to improve physical, emotional, and even mental health.
Here are just a couple of benefits of socialization for seniors:
- Mental health improvement
Since isolation can lead to depression, socialization can easily compete with this illness and allow seniors to feel valued. When you have people to talk to and interact with, you’re more likely to feel fulfilled and happy. Additionally, participating in social activities can lower seniors’ stress and anxiety levels.
- Depression rates reduce
The National Institute on Aging states that depression among seniors can be followed by a sense of hopelessness, irritability, energy loss, sudden weight gain or loss, slower movement, or poor eating and sleeping habits. And even though most older adults suffering from depression prefer not to socialize, isolation can even aggravate depression.
In contrast, socialization gives elderly adults opportunities to laugh, play, joke, talk, and be stimulated – all of which improve depression and also prevent it from occurring at all.
- Physical health boost
In addition to mental health, social interaction also enhances physical energy. For example, studies have linked low social activity and high blood pressure, suggesting that socialization improves health and can potentially reduce rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and even cardiovascular disease.
- Memory improvement
It has been proven that isolation is directly linked to an increased risk of dementia. The elderly brain needs constant stimulation that can both improve memory and prevent memory diseases. Socialization is that essential tool that supports cognitive function and helps the brain to work constantly.
- Self-esteem improvement
Spending time with others can easily boost seniors’ confidence and self-esteem. As they may feel frustrated or embarrassed even by themselves, social interaction helps them feel more confident and important to others.
- Sense of belonging
Being around people who care about us may help us feel like we are important and still have a purpose in life. It is always good to feel that we have somewhere to go or something to do – being around others makes life fulfilling; thus, healthier.
Issues Senior Adults Encounter
Now that you know about the benefits of social activities for the elderly, it’s time to find out how to implement those activities. However, it’s impossible without the proper understanding of the hurdles that older adults encounter on their way to socialization.
Some older adults avoid socializing as they get older. Such obstacles may include:
- Physical ailments – some need a wheelchair or a walker, some get exhausted too quickly, while some are just scared they may lose control while walking.
- Loss of a spouse – sadness, grief, feeling lost, and even depression are an enormous mental barrier that stops seniors from socialization.
- Cognitive problems (such as Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, dementia) – elders can be simply too frustrated by their condition to socialize in an unknown society.
- COVID-19 isolation – unvaccinated people are worried about the disease and prefer staying at home rather than going out and communicating.
And while these issues seem impossible to overcome, it’s easy to intervene and prevent a lack of socialization in the older generation. Unfortunately, social avoidance can lead to significant health issues, so it is important to get involved and help develop a senior’s social life.
Ideas to Improve Seniors’ Social Life
In order to combat seniors’ isolation and potentially improve their social life, activities must be implemented. Such solutions may include:
- Hobby clubs, such as fitness classes, music, games, or book clubs are amazing opportunities to encourage social interaction and enjoy their hobbies.
- Animal companion. While a pet cannot replace a real person, taking care of a pet can make a huge difference and help seniors not feel lonely.
- Family & friends visits. Frequent short visits are definitely better than infrequent ones or no visits at all.
- Assisted living communities. Senior care facilities are considered to be the best opportunities for older adults.
All of these methods, one way or another, will provide cognitive engagement and physical activities. Along with mental health improvement, elderly adults will benefit twice as much by upgrading their physical health.
Assisted Living: The Key to Seniors’ Social Life
Assisted living facilities are a great opportunity to combat loneliness and improve social lives when it comes to seniors. Apart from offering ongoing medical management and resources, senior facilities provide a variety of options to enjoy a stress-free life. And Colonial Assisted Living Community is the right place for elderly adults.
Residents of such communities are encouraged to build their sense of purpose by participating in their favorite hobbies. This is why Colonial Assisted Living offers a way to socialize and make new acquaintances by joining art or music classes, attending a book club, exercising daily, visiting the cinema, cooking, having game nights, or sightseeing.
The assisted living communities give older adults that special extra care, love, and support that they need for a happy and healthy life. In addition, staff members are available 24/7 to provide mental support and organize support groups if necessary.
Reach out to us at Colonial Assisted Living and find more information on the benefits of socializing in our social-active community!