If you look back on some of your fondest memories, they probably all have one thing in common—they likely involve being with family and friends. Socializing holds a whole host of benefits, particularly for seniors. In fact, research shows that seniors who have regular social engagements are also healthier, happier and less likely to experience cognitive decline.
However, according to HelpAge Canada, over 1 million seniors report feelings of loneliness and do not engage in regular social events or activities on a regular basis. It’s no wonder that so many seniors are at risk for social isolation, which The National Seniors Council of Canada defines as “a low quantity and quality of contact with others.”
Social isolation can occur at any age, but is most often experienced by seniors, particularly over the age of 80. Other risk factors for social isolation in seniors include:
The impact being socially isolated can have on seniors is significant to their overall quality of life. Research shows those who are isolated have a lower life expectancy, poor mental and physical health, are more likely to experience elder abuse, and are at a greater risk for developing chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and depression.
Additionally, studies have linked social isolation to cognitive decline, which can increase a senior’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Because of the impact social isolation can have, it’s important that loved one’s and caregivers recognize some of the most common signs, including:
If you notice these common signs in a parent or loved one, it’s important to speak with them about how they’re feeling and encourage them to break the cycle of isolation.
Staying social is a part of healthy aging, so it’s important to encourage seniors to make socializing part of their regular routines. Here are a few simple ways seniors can stay social:
All of these activities can give seniors a chance to engage in something they enjoy while also helping them keep and make meaningful social relationships.
Senior living communities, such as Symphony Senior Living, give seniors easy access to the social activities and wellness programs they need to avoid become isolated. We work with every resident to determine their likes, interests and hobbies and connect them with others who share similar interests. Plus, we’re continuously introducing new activities to meet our residents’ needs and desires.
This is all in addition to our supportive services, including daily assistance with tasks such as dressing, bathing, medication management and more that ensure seniors are never held back from life just because they need a little help. Additionally, our community-style dining means residents not only have access to healthy, home-style meals, but never have to eat alone.
If your loved one is feeling socially isolated, or looking to move to a community that allows them to expand their horizons and make new connections, contact Symphony Senior Living today to learn more about our communities, services and more.