Why Elderly Socialization Is Critical
Most often, when we consider the well-being of our elderly loved ones, we concern ourselves with their physical states. Do they have mobility issues that require assistance? Are they getting enough to eat? Do they have trouble sleeping comfortably at night? It only makes sense to ask these questions as seniors often contend with physical limitations, aches and pains. It’s important, however, to remember that their emotional well-being is equally valuable.
Is your elderly loved one socially active? Does he/she regularly communicate with friends and family? Does he/she seem happy in general? These are also questions worth asking. Of course, it’s vital to answer these questions in the positive. Isolation and loneliness are common burdens for seniors. As a result, getting the elderly to socialize is of critical importance.
Socialization gives seniors senses of belonging
For older adults, life can get pretty stale. Unlike their younger counterparts, they aren’t regularly having nights out on the town or inviting people over for fun nights in. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic has put a stop to socialization in its traditional form. So this only contributes to the feelings of isolation and loneliness that a senior can have.
By encouraging your elderly loved one to participate in FaceTime chats and/or Zoom meetings, you’ll help him/her to feel like a bigger part of the world. This step is a key ingredient to living a fulfilling life during COVID-19. No matter our ages, people need socialization to feel accepted.
As the Government of Canada has noted, “seniors benefit from volunteering and participating in their communities due to a sense of satisfaction and efficacy, and communities benefit from the services and social capital seniors are providing.”
Socialization improves cognitive skills
As we age, our brain function can decline. About a quarter of all seniors live with mental health problems such as depression, anxiety or dementia. When they are isolated from other members of society, older adults experience more severe cases of the aforementioned conditions. By contrast, socialization helps to improve the psychological and cognitive health of seniors.
“People who connect with others generally perform better on tests of memory and other cognitive skills,” writes Dr. Angela K. Troyer on PsychologyToday.com, “And, in the long run, people with active social lives are less likely to develop dementia than those who are more socially isolated.”
Socialization helps to prevent death
Believe it or not, when elders socialize with others, it helps them to live longer lives. Consider the impact that anxiety and depression has on the average person. When you take into account the vulnerability of the elderly, you realize how damaging stress can be. Dr. Ami Rokach is a clinical psychologist at Toronto’s York University. As reported by Michael Talbot for CityNews, he has studied the effects of loneliness over the last forty years.
“Stress in general weakens the immune system,” Dr. Rokach is quoted as saying in the report, “And loneliness causes stress so it can bring about all sorts of problems like high blood pressure, it has been shown to contribute to diabetes, it contributes to cardiac problems, and it intensifies the illnesses the person already experiences. Loneliness contributes not only to emotional issues like depression and low self-esteem, but to mortality as well.”
Have any questions about how to assist your elderly loved one or to learn more about our services, please don’t hesitate to call Senior Homecare by Angels at 403-862-0129 or if outside of Calgary, toll-free at 1-877-209-6142. You may also visit the Contact Us page to complete and submit a simple inquiry form.
Gerry Gatto is a trained health care administrator and the owner of Senior Homecare® By Angels a Calgary based company. Helping Calgary seniors remain in their homes and maintain their independence with the assistance of a dedicated caregiver.