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February 1, 2019

Benefits of Social Wellness for Seniors

The Benefits of Social Wellness for Seniors and How to Avoid Isolation

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.”

Risk Factors of Social Isolation

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:

  • No longer driving & lack of access to transportation
  • Living alone & the recent loss of a spouse
  • A lack of nearby social connections, including family & neighbors
  • Low self-esteem
  • Chronic conditions that make it difficult to leave the home

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.

Signs of Social Isolation

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:

  • Growing disinterest in activities they once enjoyed
  • Sudden changes in overall health & avoiding doctor’s appointments
  • Refusal of help & insisting on doing things on their own, even when it’s a struggle

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.

Activities for Seniors That Encourage Socialization

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:

  • Having regular lunch or dinner dates with family & friends
  • Enrolling in a senior friendly exercise program
  • Looking for volunteer opportunities in their community
  • Signing up for a program with a local senior center
  • Spending time learning something new

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.

How Senior Living Can Improve Social Wellness

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.

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