Oftentimes as senior family members age, they pull away from friends, family, from socializing. This may be because it becomes harder for them to get around or it can be tiring or difficult to engage. As a caregiver to your senior loved one, it is important to facilitate social opportunities to help them maintain vitality. There are many great ways to keep them connected and active which deliver significant health benefits and can give them more quality of life for many years.
Social isolation can be detrimental to seniors
The Orlando Sentinel details that when seniors become socially isolated, they start to feel quite lonely and their risk of premature death may increase. In fact, social isolation can become just as significant a risk to a senior as issues such as depression, smoking, obesity, or substance abuse. If you are a primary caretaker for your senior loved one, it is important to help them remain connected to others, especially if they tend to withdraw and isolate themselves.
1. There are many opportunities available to keep your senior engaged, depending on their interests and physical abilities. A weekly game gathering with friends or neighbors can be a great activity to keep spirits up and stimulate their minds. They may enjoy spending time at a local senior center. Many communities have facilities that provide fitness classes, game days, dancing lessons, and other activities that engage both mind and body. This kind of relaxed setting frequented by their contemporaries can be very appealing to older adults.
2. Community resources and events can keep seniors socially engaged. Adult day programs can give seniors a change of pace and an opportunity to connect with others. These can be effective and valuable. Some centers not only have classes or group activities on site, but also organize outings and field trips that could be a fun and stimulating adventure with like-minded adults.
3. Your loved may also find that attending local arts and crafts shows can provide strolling opportunities and creative stimulation.
4. Another option is to help them to stay connected to a church community that is meaningful to them. Churches offer a range of programs from educational to fitness.
5. If physical mobility for your senior is a challenge, consider arranging for additional support by having an in-home caregiver or companion stop by on a regular basis. This can help with care and provide additional opportunities to stay connected.
6. Hobbies are excellent for motivation. Do your best to ensure access to those hobbies are accessible and available. Sixty + Me suggests hobbies such as sewing, knitting, cooking, and gardening, or things like shopping, visiting libraries, museums, and parks, or doing some traveling.
7. Movement is important, especially as people age. Help seniors stay physically active. Suggest outings to get regular, low-intensity exercise as often as possible. Depending on the senior's abilities, there are many physical activities that can serve both to keep up their strength and keep them connected socially. They may enjoy local dance classes or fitness classes, golfing, swimming, or gardening, and walking is always a good go-to exercise. Some seniors who like walking for their regular activity may enjoy getting a dog, as the canine companionship can be a great mood booster. Not only can dog walking boost one's spirits as seniors connect with the dogs, but this can provide a chance to connect with new people or neighbors as well.
Eventhough many of the older generation may embrace independent living, they still experience a human need to belong; to have friends, family and a reliable social network. Staying connected to others who care has been shown to have significant health benefits, confirms Seniorly. Such connections have even been shown to boost the immune system and improve physical and mental health. So if your parent is aging, you can potentially extend their lifespan by visiting regularly, having lunch occasionally, walking together or doing some kind of mutually enjoyable activity.
Marie Villeza's mission is to empower seniors against ageism by providing information they need to keep control of their own lives.