If your older parents seem lonely or aren’t as active as they once were, these can be signs of social isolation, a condition that nearly one-fourth of older adults experience, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While families are often proactive in making sure their loved ones are eating right, getting enough rest, exercising and taking their medications, the importance of a socially active lifestyle is often overlooked.
Health and wellness of seniors: the benefits of a strong social life
A person’s ability to remain engaged and connected with others can greatly affect health and quality of life. The following are a few of the benefits:
● Decreased risk of heart disease and high blood pressure
● Decreased risk of some types of cancer
● Tendency to make healthier lifestyle choices
● May delay symptoms of dementia
● Increased sense of belonging
● Improved feelings of self-worth
● A higher quality of life is often experienced
Health and wellness of seniors: increased risk of social isolation
Living without connections and relationships can have negative health consequences. Older adults are at a higher risk of becoming isolated because of life events that occur with age.
These can include living alone, not being able to drive or having access to other transportation, developing chronic conditions or mobility issues that restrict abilities or living in rural areas where the opportunities to participate in activities may be fewer.
At a time when they may be experiencing loss of family or friends, older adults may also find it becoming more of a challenge to meet new people.
Health and wellness of seniors: tips to create a socially active life
1. Prioritize your relationships
Time passes and suddenly your parents may realize they haven’t stayed in touch with friends. While busy working on a career or raising children, relationships often fall through the cracks.
Encourage your parents to take steps to commit to remaining socially active and recognize the important role it plays in their health and well-being.
Help them get in touch with friends and schedule regular time to spend together and not to wait until they find the time.
2. Reconnect with family and friends
When considering the health and wellness of seniors, remember that it’s easy to lose touch but it’s never too late to pick up the phone or reach out through social media and reconnect.
Ask your parents to think back on those they worked with or old friendships they once enjoyed that somehow got left behind. Suggest ways they could try to reconnect and make plans to get together and catch up.
3. Engage in social activities
An easy way to become involved and connected with others is by participating in enjoyable activities. Help your parents consider different options and remind them that they’ll be meeting others who they have something in common with and who share their passions.
4. Volunteer for a good cause
Donating time and talents allows us to not only give something back to others but to meet people who also feel the same way about a certain organization or cause. Encourage your parents to consider what might be of interest to them.
5. Expand the horizons
Friends made through technology also count. Social media can become part of their daily life and so discuss with your parents the advantage of reconnecting with someone they went to school with or to reach out and make a new friend that lives halfway across the globe.
Health and wellness of seniors: how a senior living community can boost social interaction
When your parents consider all the benefits that senior living has to offer, they will soon discover how a community provides great support for helping their residents remain engaged and socially active.
It couldn’t be easier for your loved ones to meet and make new friends. Relationships begin to quickly form while interacting and sharing their stories at all the planned activities, social events and crossing paths in the common areas.
Milestone Retirement Communities
If your family is considering retirement living, we hope you will consider Milestone Retirement Communities. We are a trusted resource and are here to answer any questions. Find out for yourself all that a Milestone community has to offer you or your loved one, contact a community near you today to schedule a tour.