Human Connection and Socialization Important for Seniors
People need people interaction. Elderly need people to interact with, to talk to, to share stories, to socialize with.
Socialization benefits us all. And, is greatly important to seniors who may become “shut-in” as they age.
We all understand the need to stay physically active. To move, stand, walk, exercise. Fitness can provide a big boost to health. Sometimes, simple activities are particularly significant for seniors. Think about the benefits of physical activity: cognitive health, greater self-esteem, increased physical fitness, anxiety and stress reduction, and lower risk of depression.
Research studies have shown that socialization can be as important to one’s well-being as is physical activity.
Socialization provides similar benefits for the elderly. Talking and laughing. Relief from isolation. Involvement with groups, community, educational pursuit. Stimulus to act, cook, share, entertain guests and family. A recent study found that seniors who are socially active may also have slower rates of declining memory.
Social isolation can significantly contribute to a downward spiral for elders. Seniors may be alone, and slowly suffering from the lack of a support network. In addition, there exists a growing feeling of loneliness. This combination can be very real, and very detrimental for seniors. An absence of support. A lack of social activities. And, a feeling of social disconnectedness.
Older adults are affected by loneliness and social isolation. This can have a negative impact on both physical and mental health. Social isolation has been linked to depression, cognitive decline, increased physical disabilities, decreased resistance to infection, and increased mortality. Lack of socialization has documented health risks for our elderly parents.
Aging presents challenges for us all. And, socialization can be the biggest obstacle for many seniors. Many, many seniors don’t feel socially engaged. Retirement, physical ailments, declining physical mobility, loss of a spouse or loved one, cognitive decline, lack of transportation, living alone, and a dwindling social network all make socialization more challenging for older adults.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164