Maintaining a Social Life While Aging in Place
Having a full, rich social life may be the key to a positive aging in place experience. Here, the homecare experts at Avila detail ways for seniors to maintain a healthy social life.
Why is a Strong Social Life So Important for Seniors?
According to the Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health, maintaining a social life has just as many positive effects of health as physical exercise, forestalling major health concerns and promoting health and wellness. Socialization also improves mental health, reducing the odds of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s and depression.
Socialization helps to reduce stress, promote a positive sense of being, and reduce feelings of isolation, which can increase in the elderly as friends and family move or pass away. Healthy levels of socialization are key to a rewarding aging in place experience.
How Can You Prevent Isolation?
Leading a healthy social life starts with a two-pronged approach: decreasing reasons for self-isolation, and increasing socialization. Self-isolation can be caused by several factors: lack of transportation, poor body image, rural living, incontinence and other physical and emotional conditions can cause seniors to isolate themselves from society.
Carpools, rides with family, services like Uber or Lyft and other transportation options should be made available to seniors who do not have access to personal or public transportation. Seniors in rural areas may have to make a stronger effort to make social connections, or move to a more accessible area. Friends and family should make a strong effort to reach out to elderly loved ones living in an isolating setting.
Health issues and poor self-esteem are both major causes of self-isolation. Maintaining a healthy weight through proper diet and regular exercise will help seniors to look and feel better, encouraging them to seek out social interaction. Dealing with health concerns such as incontinence, anxiety, arthritis or other issues will reduce feelings of pain, shame or frustration, all of which bar seniors from choosing to interact with others socially.
What Can Seniors Do to Become More Social?
There is a plethora of ways for seniors to spend their time in the company of others. See below for some great options.
Doing good in the community not only helps others, but helps one have a higher self-esteem and sense of purpose. It is also inherently social, creating new connections and the ability to interact with people from diverse walks of life.
Join Exercise Classes
Combine the two powerhouses of successful aging—physical exercise and socialization—into one by joining an exercise class or group. This could be as a simple as a group of friends who walk together in the mornings, or an actual exercise class at a gym. Free yoga classes are offered throughout the Baltimore area, and there are other senior-oriented classes, such as water aerobics, offered by the YMCA and other organizations.
Eat with Friends
Eating with others is a great way to enjoy stimulating conversation and ensure proper nutrition. Churches and senior community centers frequently offer potluck-style dinners, allowing seniors to meet other seniors in their community. Cooking with friends at home is a great weekly tradition to establish as well.
Pick Up a Hobby
Hobbies are often social activities, such as bridge or bingo, and even those that are more solitary can become social. Seniors who love to read can join a weekly book club, and those who enjoy artistic pursuits, such as painting or sculpting, can participate in art classes, or art and wine nights.
Caregivers are an important part of senior socialization. Caregivers are not only there to help prepare meals, clean, or assist with personal tasks: caregivers are there to provide conversation and companionship as well. At Avila Home Care, our dedicated caregivers want to be there for their clients, as both a caregiver and friend. For more information, contact us today.
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