Benefits of Socialization for Seniors
When we are younger and our days filled with family and life responsibilities, most people have no problem achieving healthy levels of social interaction with others. However, socialization for seniors can be much harder, and the difficulties can grow as the individual gets older and her health continues to change. Seniors derive numerous benefits from continued social interaction and connection with others. Here is a breakdown of some of those benefits:
Emotional Benefits of Socialization for Seniors
We all have the same benefits to social interaction. Without enough socialization, however, seniors can be at higher risk for a list of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety disorders, and severely low self-esteem. Numerous factors heighten the risks of mental health for seniors, such as:
- An inability to get involved in family activities
- The loss of companions, such as a spouse
- The loss of friends and loved ones in similar age groups
- Loss of independence
- More time spent alone
Seniors who maintain a good social circle and have friends they can talk to have lower risks of developing emotional issues. He or she will have connections with others to increase happiness, and they also have someone to talk with about their emotions, fears, or mental health challenges. In general, seniors who have a good socialization routine have less stress and worry because they have people around them to help them cope with any changes they may be facing.
Physical Benefits of Socialization for Seniors
While socialization is often deemed as something beneficial from an emotional standpoint, social interactions can also lead to improved health for an elderly individual. Elderly individuals can be more prone to specific health issues as they get older, such as osteoporosis, diabetes, and heart disease. Unfortunately, due to the many obstacles some seniors face, they may be hesitant to perform physical activities on their own.
For example, a senior who lives alone may not be comfortable walking about in the yard alone for fear of falling. Nevertheless, when a senior is immersed in social situations, they may be more likely to take part in physical activities because of social support. Many adult day care centers actually offer activities like senior-friendly fitness classes. A few other ways socialization may lead to improved physical health include:
- Reduction in stress levels
- Lowered risks of bone and muscle degeneration
- Potentially lowered risks of certain illnesses related to sedentary lifestyles, such as high blood pressure
In addition, seniors who maintain a good social routine may have an improved lifespan because they may experience better overall health.
Cognitive Benefits of Socialization for Seniors
Social interaction is actually really important for our cognitive function. Regular social interaction may help a senior with cognitive function because the interaction stimulates the mind, reduces stress that can affect cognition, and more. Healthy levels of socialization for seniors may lead to improved quality of life for the individual, and in turn, the individual may stay mentally sharper for far longer than they would otherwise.
Numerous studies have examined the advantages of social interaction for people who have conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia as well. In one large-scale study of older women, those who had the largest social networks seem to either slow or completely prevent cognitive decline. In fact, those who had daily social interactions cut their risks of age-related dementia by as much as 50 percent.
Obstacles Seniors Often Face with Socialization
In spite of the perceived benefits of socialization for seniors, many do face specific challenges that can interfere with social activities. Some of the more typical obstacles seniors can face with social interaction include:
- Physical limitations like mobility or health issues
- Fear of stepping into social situations after the loss of a companion
- Lack of involvement from friends and family members who can help
- Some level of cognitive decline, whether perceived or legitimate
- Inability to drive; lack of transportation
With obstacles growing more prevalent the older a senior gets, it is important for loved ones who may be overseeing care to do what they can to encourage and assist with some level of socialization. For example, finding a good adult day care program, or senior center with supervision may provide an opportunity for an elderly individual to spend time with others, get out of the house, and enjoy social opportunities.
Encourage Ever-Beneficial Social Interaction with the Help of a Senior Life Center
If you happen to be the person overseeing or helping out your senior loved one, it can be tough to make sure they get the social interaction they need, all on your own. Seeking out a good senior life center or adult day care center can yield so many opportunities. Caregivers get much-needed respite care, so they can have a break. And the senior individuals gain access to a safe environment where they can enjoy activities, games, and dining with like-minded individuals in the same age groups. If you are interested in an adult day care, reach out to us at Aliviar Care to find out more about our senior life programs.