How Do Social Interactions Help Seniors?

By: | Tags: , , , , , | Comments: 0 | June 14th, 2017

Social interactions are vital to the health and well-being of seniors. Taking part in activities with other people helps seniors feel a sense of connection. Unfortunately, loneliness is a common problem for seniors. A survey conducted by the AARP estimates that 35 percent of people over 45 are lonely. Here’s how social interactions can help seniors, and what we can do to encourage them.

Reasons Seniors Feel Lonely

Older adults may feel lonely because they are isolated from others. Many live on their own. According to the Institute on Aging, about one-third of older adults living in private residences do so alone. Many are also dealing with the death of a spouse. They may be isolated because they live far from their children or other family members.

Benefits of Socialization for Seniors

Tackling the problem of loneliness can help your senior loved one lead a full life. There are both mental and physical benefits to social interactions. Here are some of the research-backed ways social interactions benefit seniors.

Social Interactions and Mental Health

Cognitive disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are increasingly common for older populations. Worldwide, one person develops dementia every three seconds. Fortunately, maintaining positive social interactions can help prevent the incidence of cognitive disorders. According to research published in the American Journal of Public Health, having a large social network can protect seniors from cognitive dysfunction, including dementia.

Seniors that feel isolated are also at risk for depression. An estimated 6.5 million Americans over 65 are depressed. A study published in the Annals of Family Medicine showed that social visits and physical activity improved symptoms of depression in seniors.

Social Interactions and Physical Health

As we age, staying in good physical health becomes even more important. Research from the University of Texas at Austin found that being more social can also lead to better physical health. This may be because seniors with social connections are more motivated to keep up their physical health. It may also be because frequent socialization encourages healthy physical activities, such as walking, dancing, or bowling.

How Can Seniors Become More Social?

You can help your senior loved one become more social, even if you can’t visit them as often as you’d like. Here are some ways you can encourage socialization.

  • Help your loved one find a club or group. Does your senior have any hobbies? Older adults can connect with others through shared interests, such as crafts, sports, or games. Help by finding groups that meet in your loved one’s area. A local senior center is a great place to start.
  • Find volunteer opportunities. Is your loved one well enough to volunteer his or her time? Volunteerism can help give seniors a sense of purpose. Seniors can add value to their communities by volunteering at museums, zoos, schools, or youth programs. Volunteering is also a great way to foster friendships with other like-minded people.
  • Adopt a pet. Seniors who are able to take care of pets can enjoy the benefits of caring for another living being. Large dogs are not easy for seniors to manage, so a small dog, cat, or another type of animal may be a good choice.
  • Hire a home caregiver. A caregiver can be a helpful companion for your senior. Having someone to talk to on a regular basis will give your loved one the benefits of social interaction.

Interacting with others is key to your loved one’s physical and mental well-being. Fostering socialization can take a little effort, but it can drastically improve the quality of life for your senior.

ActiveCare Home Care can help provide your senior loved one with the social interaction they need to thrive. Caregivers are available by the hour or as live-in help. ActiveCare knows how important companionship and social interactions can be and how it is needed among the aging population. Contact us for more information and learn how we can help offer your loved ones companionship and social interactions!

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