Regardless of age, relationships matter, and socialization for seniors is equally as important as socialization at any other stage in life. Alongside the obvious benefit of reducing isolation, forging healthy relationships can offer a powerful boost for both the mental and physical health of seniors.
Most assisted living facilities in Pueblo West boast a great social community, with many hosting a diverse range of activities for seniors to enjoy. These social opportunities can promote the formation of strong new relationships, keep the brain sharp and increase physical activity.
Feelings of loneliness are common in seniors, so if you’ve found yourself feeling a little more isolated recently, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s also completely normal to feel apprehensive about meeting new people in later life. Whether you’re considering moving to assisted living or are looking for something within the community, organized activities for seniors are a great way to meet new people with mutual interests.
Feeling a little worried? Keep in mind that when you join a new group, there will likely be others who feel just the same – after all, it’s everyone’s first day at some point! Stay motivated by the knowledge that pushing through those initial doubts can unlock a range of health benefits. Here are just a few of these key benefits of socialization for seniors.
Mental Health Benefits
- Reduced risk of mental health issues. Unfortunately, many seniors find themselves struggling with loneliness as they lose friends and loved ones. Decreased mobility or illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease can also make getting out and about to socialize more difficult. As a result, seniors are at a greater risk of a range of common mental health issues. For example, various recent studies have found that loneliness is linked with higher rates of anxiety, depression and dementia.
- Cognitive benefits. Research suggests that regular social interactions could actually be powerful in keeping illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia at bay. The jury is still out on how this actually happens, but there are clear indications that a strong social network can benefit memory and reduce cognitive decline. Any social interaction helps keep the brain active, contributing to increased mental sharpness. We all know physical exercise leads to a healthier body, but exercising the brain is vital, too!
- Increased sense of purpose. If you have lost a partner or close friends, you might start to find yourself struggling with your sense of identity and belonging. Equally, it’s common for seniors who viewed their work as a large part of their identity to find that retirement can come with a feeling of lack of purpose. If this sounds like you, forming new friendship circles and getting back to enjoying regular social activities may help you start to build a new, exciting chapter. Importantly, this could provide you with the fulfilment and purpose you feel your life is currently missing.
Physical Health Benefits
- Increased exercise. Many residential assisted living communities like Columbine Chateau and other groups offer activities for seniors involving physical exercise, for example walking groups or day excursions. If you still have a level of mobility that means you would feel comfortable joining an exercise group, this could be the perfect choice for you. Alongside the social element, physical activity can provide a range of other health benefits. For example, exercise has been linked to increased brain health, reduced anxiety, better sleep, weight management and a decreased risk of things like heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Regardless of age, many people find it difficult to self-motivate when it comes to exercise. When encouraged by a social group, it may be easier to work up the will to get out and about!
- Reduced risk of a range of physical ailments. Reduced mobility mean you can’t take part in physical activity? Don’t fret! Even if you’re unable to exercise, socialization in itself boasts a range of great health benefits. For example, increased socializing alone has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Longer lifespan. Naturally, with social isolation being linked to an increased risk of things like dementia, heart disease and stroke, research has shown that prioritizing socialization for seniors can lead to an overall longer, healthier life. In fact, one study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that being socially isolated significantly increased the risk of premature death from all causes. Potentially, this could make social isolation just as dangerous as smoking or obesity.
Prioritizing socialization for seniors is absolutely vital, not only to reduce the feelings of loneliness that are all too common as we age, but to boost almost every aspect of general health and wellbeing.
With socialization having been linked to such a spectrum of health benefits, finding activities for seniors either within the local area or at an assisted living facility in Colorado is a great idea. If you suspect a loved one is struggling with loneliness, it may be useful to help them find local activities for seniors that appeal to their personal interests.