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Social Interactions and the Benefits for Seniors

Posted by Valerie Stephen

March 15, 2018 7:30:00 AM EDT

social interactionsEnsuring that seniors stay social is extremely healthful in a myriad of ways. In a previous post, we disclosed some of the benefits associated with social interaction. These benefits include an improved sense of purpose and belonging, enhanced physical and emotional health, a boost for memory and cognitive functions. We know that it is essential for seniors to avoid isolation but it can be somewhat of a challenge. The following is a list of ways to keep your loved one social. 

1. Promote Purpose

If you ensure that the senior in your life has a sense of purpose or activity that interests them, it dramatically decreases their chance to succumb to isolation. Any activity that involves a group setting such as a book club or card playing group should promote healthy social habits. A way you can promote a sense of purpose is encouraging the senior in your life to volunteer. You can also promote purpose by providing ownership of something for your loved one, such as a dog to watch or a garden to tend to.

2. Encourage Seniors to Attend Weekly Religious Services

If your loved one has trouble choosing a hobby or activity to keep them social, you can try to encourage them to attend weekly religious or faith services. Attending these services will also give them a sense of purpose. Even if they initially sit and worship by themselves, they will feel the sense of being a part of something bigger than themselves. A fantastic benefit of attending a religious service is the social interaction that occurs during and after. Often there will be coffee and snacks available after services where everyone can mingle and welcome newcomers. 

3. Provide Transportation 

One of the biggest causes for seniors to fall into an unsocial rut is lack of transportation. The best way to overcome this issue is to volunteer for your loved one and offer to take them to their religious service or their bridge club. However, this is a very caring thing to do; it is not always a possibility between work and other commitments. There are low-cost driving options such as ordering your loved one an Uber or a Lyft. A third option is public transportation with elder affairs, this can vary by state.

4. Encourage Doctor Visits

Undiagnosed and untreated vision or hearing issues can inflict insolation on seniors. If your loved one is dealing with these issues, you may not even be aware of it. The reason could either be they are embarrassed to bring attention to it, or they are unaware they have an issue themselves. The best way to ensure the senior in your life is not avoiding social interaction due to a health issue is to encourage vision and hearing tests.  

5. Notify Neighbors

If your elderly loved one lives by themselves, it could be a challenge to ensure they are social in the neighborhood. A great way to diminish this problem is informing members of the community that your loved one lives in the area alone. Be sure the individuals you notify are trusted members or the neighborhood and encourage them to visit or bring your loved one a dish if they have a chance. Then introduce community members to your loved one and start the conversation with them.

6. Encourage Social Outings

The first step to encouraging seniors to attend social outings is to do the research firsthand. If you provide a list of upcoming activities, they will feel more invited to make the push to head out. One of the best social outings for seniors is dining with others. When seniors go out eating together, they are more likely to discuss similarities and share personal stories with a similar individual.

7. Educate on Technology

With all the advancements in technology, there is an abundance of social platforms for seniors to interact. Make a Facebook profile for your loved one and give them a crash course on how to use it. Other social media tools that are somewhat easy to adapt to are Twitter if they enjoy reading, and Pinterest, if they have a visual hobby. There are also platforms for senior meet-ups and even senior dating. Just google if there are any platforms for seniors to stay social in your area and share it with your loved one.

Fostering socialness in seniors is extremely important for their happiness and their health. These seven ways of keeping seniors social are just some examples of the countless possibilities that vary by region. Silversphere cares about keeping the senior in your life happy and safe; learn more here.

Topics: Senior Living, Social Interaction

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