Seniors should – and wish to – maintain their independence wherever possible. However, living alone isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for senior citizens. Did you know that nearly 3 in 10 individuals aged 64 and over live by themselves? If you are able to maintain a healthy social life despite that, your living arrangement may be working for you. However, when people live alone and limit their socialization opportunities, problems can arise. When that’s the case, you may be considering making the move to a senior living community. Socialization during senior living is encouraged and there are a wide range of activities to facilitate this.
The Importance of Senior Socialization
There’s no getting around the fact that humans are social animals. We tend to function better in a community setting or around others. Unfortunately, loneliness and isolation are not uncommon phenomena amongst seniors, as the risk increases the older we get. It’s particularly important – especially for seniors – that the negative effects of isolation and loneliness be prevented.
Isolation Presents Health Hazards
Isolation not only affects the mental health and mood of senior individuals, it can also lead to physical deterioration. The following health concerns are more likely to be found in individuals with limited social lives:
- Forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s
- Cardiac failure
- Coronary artery disease
Unhealthy behaviors like smoking and physical inactivity have also been associated with seniors who are lonely or socially isolated.
Social Isolation and the Risks
Where seniors are concerned, the risk of isolation is increased due to the following factors:
- Lack of resources, such as the lack of a wheelchair or walker for seniors with mobility limitations
- Limited contact with family and friends
- Chronic health conditions that can make it difficult to get out without assistance
- Being 80 years of age or older
Mental Health Benefits of Socialization
In the past few decades, mental health has been receiving increasing attention in the media and has been found to be essential for the overall wellbeing of an individual. Seniors belong to an especially vulnerable population where this is concerned. It has been proven that a lack of socialization can cause depression, which can worsen chronic illness and severity of disabilities besides raising mortality rates. To improve mental health, one of the most effective ways is for seniors to socialize.
Promoting Senior Socialization
For seniors, there are lots of ways to socialize – especially if you live in a retirement community. Regardless of where you live, senior socialization can be increased through the following opportunities:
- Water aerobics/swimming classes
- Darts, billiards, and other games such as bingo
- Staying in touch with family and friends via videoconferences, phone calls, etc.
- Group outings and “happy hours”
- Walking groups/exercise classes
At the Conservatory At Keller Town Center, we offer numerous opportunities for socialization, making new friends, connecting with old friends, and more. Find out what quality senior community living is all about. Contact us if you have questions or would like a tour.