As we age, it’s normal to lose social connections along the way. According to Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, we lose ‘social capital’ as we age. This is usually due to retirement, friends and family members moving away, or losing them to illness and death.
This normal decrease in daily social contacts has a negative impact on our health, both physical and mental.
Fortunately, there are ways to change this. Friendships and regular socialization improve overall health.
A study published in The Journals of Gerontology found that senior assisted living communities that are well-designed can improve socialization, happiness, and quality of life. Providing your older adult with more opportunities to be social, like living in an assisted living community, may help them thrive.
The benefits of socialization for seniors
Being social has a significant influence on senior health and well-being. Many studies have shown that there are positive effects of socializing for seniors, including:
Improved mental health
Older adults often experience cognitive decline or the symptoms of depression. Studies show that more than 7 million seniors are dealing with symptoms of depression.
There are other studies that show consistent interaction with people helps reduce the risk of depression and dementia in older adults.
When seniors live alone they are more likely to suffer from malnutrition. Friendly, lively social interactions with others can improve appetite, nutrition and overall health in older adults.
Improved physical health
A socially active life can also have additional health benefits – less physical pain, lower blood pressure, and even a better immune system.
Loneliness can increase health risks
According to Seniorly, older adults who live at home may still be dealing with loneliness. Even with in-home care, they may not be getting the amount of contact and communication they need.
Forbes reports that loneliness could be even a bigger health risk than obesity or smoking. There is another study showing that social isolation increased the risk of death by as much as 30%. Seniors who are isolated socially often experience higher mortality rates as well.
For many aging adults, the key to increasing socialization may be to attend an adult day program, move to an assisted living community, or consider another type of senior housing.
Assisted living communities help increase socialization
Assisted living communities make it easier for residents to socialize with their peers.
There are plenty of common areas where people can gather as well as structured activities like games, cultural events, dancing, field trips, and more.
The New York Times reported that levels of loneliness and social isolation are growing among seniors and it’s taking a toll on physical and mental health. The article notes that many elders benefited from living in retirement communities because of the shared activities, convenience, and larger number of potential friends with similar interests.
About Senior Living Options of the Desert
Senior Living Options of the Desert is Southern California’s leader in senior living referral. We’ve been helping families find compassionate care for their loved ones since 2004.
Whether you’re looking for independent living, assisted living, memory care, or another form of senior care, our local family advisors will help you find the right option for you and your family. Our mission is to provide families with the best residential care options based on care needs and location, no matter what the budget. And, our services are always FREE.
You can get more information at www.seniorlivingoptionsofthedesert.com.