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Social Interactions for Seniors: Understanding the Benefits

Posted by Kaleb Scharmahorn

October 19, 2016 1:43:00 PM EDT

images1XPTV524As increasing amounts of research suggest, social interactions are healthful for seniors in a myriad of ways. For this reason, it's not surprising that many senior care communities , community centers, and families are working to increase the social opportunities for seniors in their care or community. Simply by ramping up the number of social encounters that seniors experience, you can enhance their lives and enrich their senior years.

 

Improved Sense of Purpose and Belonging

Many seniors are thrilled to feel part of something, to have the chance to contribute in some way. Even when seniors are very limited physically, they can still offer companionship and provide some company to another senior who may be feeling lonely or missing their loved ones. Involving seniors within a group or community setting allows them to interact with other people in meaningful ways. It isn't enough for any adult to simply remain in their room and interact with their caregiver. They need the social interaction to remind them that they are still involved in the world around them.

 

Enhanced Physical and Emotional Health

According to the University Of Rochester Medical Center, "Research has shown that social interaction offers older adults many benefits. Staying socially active and maintaining interpersonal relationships can help you maintain good physical and emotional health." Isolation can literally have a negative effect on the immune system. When seniors maintain friendships and feel connected to others, their immune system gets a boost, which allows them to more effectively ward away disease and even emotional disorders like depression. 

Various studies have shown that seniors benefit physically from social interactions and confirm a reduced risk for diseases like some cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. Research also suggests that socially active seniors benefit with a reduced risk for Alzheimer's disease and mental health conditions like anxiety.  By fostering connections among seniors and their family and friends, communities and senior care communities can simultaneously promote overall improved health for their senior population.

A Boost for Memory and Cognitive Functions

By reducing the risk of age-related memory loss, social activity among seniors also improves cognitive function. Knowing that their mental faculties remain sharp helps bolster seniors' confidence levels and keeps them feeling more upbeat. Even when their mobility declines, seniors may still feel able to contribute to social situations because their wit and memory are intact. When seniors interact, they can more easily boost one another's cognitive functions through conversation and various stimulating activities.

Encouraging Senior Interactions

In each of our communities, we all have a stake in securing the wellbeing of our eldest members. Visiting senior centers, involving seniors in clubs or groups, and volunteering where seniors congregate are a few ways people can contribute to the health of area seniors. Of course, there are many ways to encourage seniors to remain socially active. We can teach them to use technology, which is a great learning activity, help them get established in retirement communities, and make sure they continue to meet with friends even when they can no longer drive.

Fostering the physical and mental health of seniors is important for every community. Social interactions are one of the easiest methods for encouraging wellbeing among seniors. By thoughtfully nurturing interactions among seniors, we can keep them feeling younger and enjoying life to the fullest.

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Topics: Senior Living Community, Assisted Living, Technology, emergency call system, Silversphere, Social Interaction

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