Humans are social creatures; we all need some form of social interaction at all stages of life. Senior citizens can feel lonely, especially when living alone, but there are ways to encourage social interactions to prevent loneliness and isolation.
Benefits of Social Interaction for Seniors
Improved physical health
Seniors who engage in relationships tend to be more active, which improves physical health through social activities. Seniors can enjoy themselves while making a positive impact on their health. Physical activity also improves flexibility and strength, thus increasing balance and coordination and decreasing fall risk. Group activities that involve fun and laughter can reduce stress, improve blood circulation, and boost the immune system.
Improved mental health
Staying connected with others makes us feel more connected to the world, increases our sense of belonging, and decreases symptoms of depression. Keeping our brains active and engaged can also sharpen our minds and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
Create a safety net
When seniors are frequently alone, the risk of accidents and severe injuries from an accident increases. Connecting with and getting to know others can make it easier to see odd behavior or physical illness and can be taken care of much quicker than when isolated.
Tips to Prevent Social Isolation
Make transportation plans
Lack of access to transportation is a significant factor in feelings of isolation. Sometimes, the difference between isolation and healthy social life is organizing a weekly car ride or other arrangements. You could cover bus fare, gift a rideshare gift card, or offer a ride yourself to increase social interaction between you and your loved one.
Regular activities are an excellent way to build connections and make friends. Meet Up is an excellent site to find local events or weekly meetings and ties into embracing the technology mentioned below. Here are some weekly activities ideas:
- Walking or gardening club
- Weekly volunteering
- Classes at the local community center
- Game nights with friends or family
- Weekly brunch dates with friends or family
- Attending church
Video chatting can enable seniors to connect with loved ones and friends without leaving home. It’s also common for book clubs and other events to take place virtually. Technology also offers social media, like Facebook, a great way to stay connected with friends and family.
Consider a pet
Studies have shown that having the responsibility of taking care of and nurturing a pet is an effective way to prevent feelings of loneliness. Taking care of a pet can also:
- Improve physical health through play or daily walks (if able)
- Increase a sense of belonging
- Decrease social isolation
- Provide a sense of security
Nevada Adult Day Healthcare Centers Can Help
Scheduled social interactions can become routine and significantly decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation. Take some time and sit down with your loved one to learn what activities they find interesting. We at Nevada Adult Day Healthcare Centers offer various services, including social and recreational activities like table games, arts and crafts, and group activities. Feel free to connect with us and learn more about how you can improve social interactions today!