The Benefits of Maintaining an Active Social Life While Social Distancing

In the midst of the novel coronavirus, leaning on each other for strength and comfort is difficult when individuals must practice social distancing. Lack of social contact is difficult for anyone. While we fight to overcome this pandemic, adapting to new ways of maintaining an active social life can bring hope and comfort in an otherwise difficult time. Here, the passionate home care and aging-in-place providers at Avila Home Care discuss the benefits of maintaining an active social life as you age, and tips for interacting with family and friends while practicing social distancing.

Social Connection and Interaction is Beneficial to the Elderly

Connecting with loved ones or friends can bring a sense of joy and happiness even in challenging times such as these, and for elderly individuals, these interactions can also provide physical and emotional benefits. Studies have shown that interacting with friends or family on a frequent basis has led to a decreased risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s as you age, allowing individuals to maintain a high quality of life, as well as their independence. As you approach the age of retirement, the amount of free time you have to pursue activities that you enjoy increases. However, this may also lead to decreased socialization, as you are not interacting with others as frequently. Maintaining a social schedule with friends can provide a fantastic outlet to connect with others. While the connection may look different, adapting to social distancing practices and finding new ways to spend time with loved ones over digital outlets is certainly possible.

Communication Can Ease the Stress of Social Distancing

On top of the fears that many elderly individuals face when it comes to their physical health during COVID-19, emotional stress may also be exacerbated by a change in routine for the elderly. Communicating with loved ones through video chat applications such as Zoom or FaceTime, as well as through phone calls and texts, can go a long way. The comfort of knowing that your family members are safe and healthy, and catching up on daily life at home, can dramatically ease stress and anxiety. While some elderly individuals may not have a smartphone or computer, even a simple phone call a few times a week can make all the difference. If you take the time to call your elderly loved one, you may be the only person they speak to that day, and talking with them can provide extraordinary benefits.

Thinking positively throughout this time, and focusing on the future rather than worrying about the present, is key. While it is important to practice safety precautions and social distancing, speaking to your loved ones about resuming activities in the future can provide a sense of hope and give them something to look forward to.

Start a New Hobby During This Time

Even though you are stuck at home, this does not mean that you cannot be productive. Starting a new hobby, or picking up an old one that you previously didn’t have time for, can bring immense joy in an unpredictable time. For example, activities such as gardening, painting, sewing or reading can all be done from the home, and you can use these activities to stay social. Consider starting a virtual book club, where you are able to speak with friends on a weekly basis about new stories. If you are trying to take up gardening, call a friend who you know has a green thumb, and talk to him or her about the best practices for making your garden beautiful. While this time of social distancing may feel never-ending at times, be assured that there are still various ways to stay social while staying safe.

Check Out Avila Home Care’s Aging in Place Services

Taking steps to remain active in your social life during this time can help prevent anxiety, stress and depression. At Avila Home Care, our compassionate aging-in-place specialists offer mobility and companionship services to ensure that your loved ones are kept safe and comfortable as they age. To learn more about how Avila Home Care can assist you, contact us today.

The aging in place caregivers at Avila Home Care always encourage readers to discuss any health questions or concerns with a qualified healthcare professional.

Some content in this article was sourced from PLOS Medicine, AASC, and The Conversation

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