Social isolation is a leading cause of depression for seniors. Being socially involved helps give you a sense of belonging, keeps you mentally sharp and engaged, and helps ward off the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Attending a class, group, or club can help build connections and improve your mind.
Even just the simple act of engaging in conversation is beneficial for our cognitive health. Having conversations helps build connections in our minds and improves cognitive functioning. A brief 10-minute friendly conversation helps suppress distractions, stimulates our working memory, and regulates the ability to self-monitor. Facetime, Zoom, and Skype have all made it easier to have online communications with your older friends and loved ones when you’re unable to meet in person.
Many seniors struggle with loneliness and social isolation as they age, due to factors such as living alone, loss of family and friends, and chronic illness. This can lead to an increase in harmful behaviors like smoking, drinking, obesity, or an overall decrease in physical activity. Engaging in positive interactions with different people on a regular basis can help combat these feelings by making seniors feel loved, needed, and purposeful. Socialization, especially when coupled with doing something fun or rewarding, creates a positive mindset and a healthy outlook on life, for seniors.
Remaining physically active is important for adults of any age; however, for older adults it is particularly important. Seniors who are socially active tend to be more physically active as well and are at lower risk for certain conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Social activities for seniors can include walking, hiking with friends, or attending a group exercise class, which in turn helps older adults form healthy habits and lead a healthier lifestyle.
Volunteering can provide opportunities to help others and stay social. Giving their time and resources to a cause they’re passionate about can help give seniors a stronger sense of purpose and improve their mood as they work together with others towards a common goal.
For those who are homebound, or unable to leave their homes regularly, the internet provides a way to stay connected with loved ones and make new connections. Social media allows us to keep up with the lives of our friends and family and is a great way for many older adults to share and connect. Online forums provide opportunity to explore topics that they may not be able to connect with anyone locally about and can provide endless resources for exploring a talent or passion.
It can be difficult to connect and take the leap to make connections as we get older. If your loved one is struggling with getting involved in social activities, reach out to us by phone at 561-291-3699 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team is experienced in working with older adults to help them flourish.