The Advantages of Socialization for Seniors’ Mental Health

The Advantages of Socialization for Seniors' Mental Health

The Advantages of Socialization for Seniors’ Mental Health

According to the National Institute on Aging, there are 13.8 million or close to three out of ten elderly citizens in America who are living alone. While there is nothing wrong with seniors keeping their independence, it’s crucial to understand the advantages of senior socialization as well as the risks of doing so. This article will discuss the advantages of senior socializing and offer some tips on how to prevent the risks of isolation.

Also Read: Role of Technology in Home Care Services

Why Is Senior Socialization Important?

People are by nature sociable beings. Although it can seem self-evident and clear, a growing body of data supports the social component of human life. We are social animals by nature, so being among people and in a community context tends to help us function better, says Mayo Clinic psychologist Dr. Craig Sawchuk, Ph.D. Sadly, elders are more likely than the general population to feel isolated or lonely. According to a UCSF Division of Geriatrics study, loneliness affects 43% of senior citizens on a regular basis.

Seniors are more likely to become alone as they age. Elders (and their loved ones) must take the initiative to maintain engagement throughout the day if they are to avoid the detrimental consequences of loneliness and isolation on seniors.

The Dangers of Senior Isolation to Health

Nearly every aspects of senior citizens’ lives is impacted by solitude. Isolation frequently causes physical deterioration in addition to its negative impact on mood and mental health. According to a National Academy of Sciences study, elderly people who are alone and isolated have worse physical and mental health. Additionally, those who have little social interaction are more prone to experience the following health issues:

  • Hypertension
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Cardiac failure
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Alzheimers (and other forms of dementia)

Among older adults, harmful behaviors like smoking and inactivity have also been linked to social isolation and loneliness.

Also Read: 5 Self-Care Tips for Caregivers (and 1 Pro Secret)

Age-related social isolation risk factors

Seniors are more likely than the general U.S. population to sense loneliness and social isolation, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Seniors are more likely to experience solitude due to the following factors:

  • being 80 years or older
  • persistent health issues
  • limited communication with relatives and friends
  • inadequate resources

Discover:  4 Major Factors That Contribute to Depression In Seniors

Understanding the potential health consequences for elders who are prone to social isolation is crucial. A research by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that social isolation dramatically increased a person’s risk of early death from all causes. This finding was reported in a recent CDC paper. With older adults in particular, these hazards may be comparable to those associated with smoking, obesity, and inactivity. According to this study, loneliness and social isolation are linked to a roughly 50% higher chance of dementia, a 29% higher risk of heart disease, and a 32% higher risk of stroke.

The Positive Effects of Senior Socialization to Mental Health

In recent years, psychology and mental health have drawn more and more attention, particularly in relation to general health. Seniors are a group that is particularly susceptible to mental health issues. According to The Lancet, seniors who have continuing medical issues are most negatively impacted by depression. It has been demonstrated that depression worsens disabilities, makes chronic illnesses more severe, increases mortality rates, and hurts elders and their families.

Fortunately, research has shown that one of the best ways for seniors to enhance their mental health is through socialization. The American Public Health Association asserts that socialising enhances cognition, mood, and memory recall and is linked to healthy activities, such as exercise. Seniors’ mental health is significantly impacted by their use of technology, exercise, games like bingo and cards, and other activities to connect with family and friends.

How to Encourage Senior Socialization

There is a natural trend for people to become less active as they age. Seniors may develop increasingly sedentary habits and settle into inactive routines over time. For many elderly people, watching TV alone is more convenient than going out with friends or signing up for a fitness regimen. Seniors must take charge of their activity levels or else their health will decline. Here are some suggestions and chances to improve senior citizens’ socialization:

Social Activities Accessible for Seniors

Because of their higher longevity and access to higher-quality healthcare, seniors are the age group in America that is expanding at the quickest rate. Fortunately, there are more social activities accessible as more persons approach retirement age. There are several possibilities for seniors to choose from, including technology-focused connections, outings, and happy hours.

Seniors’ mental health benefits from social activities include:

  • Walking groups and exercise classes
  • group trips and happy hours
  • Frequently speaking with friends and family on the phone and video conferencing
  • Card games 
  • Darts, pool, and other lounge games
  • lessons in swimming and water aerobics

Discover: Intergenerational Activities For Senior Citizens

Locate a Community That Is Socially Active Near You

It can be difficult for millions of elderly people who live alone to maintain an active social life. Location can also be a major barrier to maintaining an active lifestyle and making important connections. Because retirement homes offer social activities, fitness opportunities, and a sense of community that in-home care cannot, more seniors are opting to live there. Make contact with a Senior community in your area to learn more about the social programs that are available to you in a matter of clicks.

Also Read: Assessing The Causes Of Loneliness And Finding Appropriate Social Support For Seniors

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