As people get older, they will often become lonelier and more isolated after losing members of their family and friends, which can have a negative impact on both mental and physical health. Keeping an active social life can benefit seniors in many different ways. For many seniors, connecting with friends and family is an important part of life, and can play a huge part in improving brain health and even reducing the risk of conditions such as dementia.
But socializing is not always easy for older people. Many seniors may have mobility problems that prevent them from getting out as much as they would like or may struggle if family and friends live some distance away. Seniors who have an active social life, however, experience many benefits including:
Better Physical Health
Social engagement has been associated with a stronger immune system, which is especially beneficial for older adults. Seniors who get a lot of social activity in their life may be able to better fight off viruses such as the flu and common cold. Along with this, it can help to reduce the risk of more serious diseases, such as certain types of cancer.
Better Mental Health
Seniors who struggle to get out and socialize with others may benefit both physically and mentally from moving to an assisted living facility or skilled care facilities where they do not only have access to the medical care that they need, but also the chance to be around other people, make new friends and enjoy a thriving social life. Social interaction is good for seniors’ mental health and can help to keep isolation at bay, ultimately reducing the risk of mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Reduced Risk of Dementia
There has been recent growing evidence to suggest that socializing with others can have a positive impact on our brains and cognitive health. Seniors who connect with other people on a regular basis show more positive results when it comes to cognitive and memory skills compared to people who are more isolated and spend a lot of time on their own, suggesting that it may help to reduce dementia risk.
How You Can Help a Senior Loved One
If you are worried about the impact of loneliness and isolation on a senior relative, there are several things that you can do to help. If they are struggling in other areas of their life, suggesting a move to a retirement community or an assisted living facility might be worthwhile, as this will not only allow them to improve their social life but also access care and support whenever needed. Visiting more often and encouraging your relative to take part in more activities with you like exercising or hobby classes is also worth considering. Technology has also recently begun to play a larger part in helping seniors socialize, with many learning how to use programs like FaceTime to stay in touch.
Spending a lot of time alone isn’t good for anybody, especially seniors. Socializing can help boost both mental and physical health and keep your senior relative happy and fulfilled in life.