Socialization is an integral part of being human. Social isolation can result in a number of emotional and mental health issues ranging from loneliness to severe depression. Interacting with other human beings, therefore, is essential for the maintenance of emotional and mental health.
With regards to seniors, social integration can become more difficult. The aging process can lead to difficulties with mobility, and if you can’t move around easily you are less likely to want to go to social events. If you are the relative of a senior who seems to be withdrawing from their social life, it is recommended that you consider ways to improve their situation.
A lack of social interaction in a senior’s life can be detrimental to their emotional well being, because usually at this age they are retired. If they don’t spend time going to work, and don’t have any friends to socialize with, their life becomes very empty. If they simply sit in their house all day watching TV they will soon become disillusioned about life. Family and friends are the most important things in life, so if one of your family members is getting older and losing touch with friends it is your responsibility as their relative to help them reconnect with other people.
Ways Seniors Can Socialize
There are many ways a senior can socialize. If you have an aging relative and are worried about the amount of social interaction they have, there are imaginative ways of improving this aspect of their life. Joining clubs or meeting with old friends regularly in a familiar place isn’t always possible. This is particularly true if the senior in your life has difficulty getting around. Parkinson’s disease and arthritis are just two medical conditions that are common in the elderly and can really inhibit mobility. If either of these conditions or a similar one is preventing your loved one from enjoying the mental and emotional benefits of physical company, there are other ways of introducing this into their routine.
Before proceeding to more inventive options, there is a very practical way of helping your relative enjoy a social life. You can do this by simply providing them with transport. First, you should have a conversation with them about the activities they like to do or a club they are interested in joining but are not able to. Next, you should find out what day this activity occurs and make the necessary transport arrangements.
You and other members of your family should get together and create a schedule so that one relative is not burdened with this every week. Life is busy, so it is not realistic to assume that this time slot is always going to be empty. When the responsibility is shared amongst more than one relative, it is much more organized and means that the senior can rely on you all to help them have at least one weekly outing so they can socialize with friends.
If arranging transport simply isn’t feasible for some reason, here are some other options:
When we think of Facebook and other popular social media platforms, we usually assume that it is the domain of the younger generations. Social network site usage for people who are 74 or older has quadrupled since 2008, so it’s clear that the older generations are realizing the benefit of being able to stay in touch with friends at the touch of a button.
Retirement communities offer a wide range of activities that are specifically designed to encourage social interaction between the residents. The physical layout of retirement communities allows for separate spaces where the seniors can enjoy privacy when desired, but often include communal areas so they also have the opportunity to converse with each other. A communal diningroom is a common element of retirement communities, allowing for mealtimes to transform into socialization opportunities. Then, when the resident simply wants some alone time, they can retire into their own personal space.
Assisted Living and Socialization
Assisted living offers a permanent solution for issues pertaining to socialization in the elderly. Other forms of professional senior care are less focused on the social side to an elderly person’s quality of life. In nursing homes, which are designed for seniors with significant physical health issues, the around-the-clock attention to medical care does not foster a comfortable and friendly environment in the same way as an assisted living facility.
In home care is carried out in the senior’s home, so it also doesn’t do very much to help them communicate and foster relationships. Assisted living facilities are the middle ground: they have the benefits of the nursing home community, and a degree of the independence that comes from staying in your own home. As such, assisted living facilities are the perfect place for seniors to improve their social lives.
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