It is not uncommon for seniors to feel chronically lonely. In fact, loneliness affects around 1 in 5 seniors nationally. It is, unfortunately, a devastating complication of aging that can often lead to larger problems like increased disabilities, cognitive decline, and even early death. The great news is it is completely preventable as long as it is recognized and addressed promptly.
Someone experiencing social isolation may rarely leave the house, lack a reliable support system, and choose to not interact with others unless necessary. This loneliness sends a signal to their brain telling them "all is not right" which then causes increased stress levels, blood pressure, and inflammation. To help prevent isolation and promote social wellness, it is important to regularly assess seniors for physical manifestations of loneliness symptoms such as difficulty with dressing, personal hygiene, and fatigue.
Health Benefits of Being Socially Active
Older adults who are socially active experience benefits such as reduced risk for Alzheimer's disease, improved cardiovascular health and even things like decreased chance of osteoporosis and cancers. Being social (and happy) boosts and individual's immune system and improves their ability to absorb nutrition making it a viable way to maintain optimal health. Therefore, encouraging social wellness and regular social interaction leads seniors to live a more independent life without needing medical intervention.
Activities that Promote Social Wellness
Social wellness refers to the ability to bond and maintain meaningful relationships with others. Understand that you may be met with resistance in encouraging your loved one to take part in activities. However, it will get easier - think of it like exercising muscles that have not been used in awhile.
While appropriate activities will vary based on an individual's abilities and personal preferences, here are ten suggestions to get started:
- Commit to attend a group exercise class
- Grab coffee with a friend
- Attend a theater performance or movie
- Learn a new hobby (like painting or gardening)
- Plan a trip to visit out of town friends and family
- Volunteer at an Alzheimer’s Association event
- Help out at a local elementary school
- Join a club
- Attend a church service
- Schedule a movie or game night at your house
How Oaks Senior Living Promotes Social Wellness
Senior social wellness is incredibly important to us! We hire a Life Enrichment Director to develop fun and engaging activities for both our memory care and assisted living residents to participate in.
We would love to introduce you, or your loved one to our fun activities and our residents. Please schedule a visit with one of our communities to get started. We cannot wait to meet you!