You can picture the long, barren hallways of a nursing
You see a group of wheelchair-bound seniors, their heads slumped down,
never looking up at the scurrying nurses rushing by to handle one emergency
This is not socialization of seniors. It is isolation.
As seniors age, they face increased risks of social isolation because of
factors like the death of family and friends, loss of transportation and
If one spouse becomes ill, the other spouse often becomes more homebound to
care for his or her spouse, which leads to more social isolationism.
Older adults who describe themselves as lonely have a 59 percent greater
risk of functional decline and a 45 percent greater risk of death,
according to a study by the University of California San Francisco
Here is how socialization can help your loved one’s health:
1. Socialization Can Improve Mood and Quality of Life
The need to maintain social interactions for good health is pretty clear.
published in the Annals of Family Medicine
gathered nearly 200 seniors with depressive symptoms and provided social
visits or physical activity for six straight months.
The results were undeniable.
“Social contact may be as effective as physical activity in improving mood
and quality of life,” one researcher wrote. “Social participation and
social support networks are paramount to long-term positive outcomes and
psychological well-being for older people.”
2. Social Engagement May Slow Memory Loss
Seniors who are socially active may have slower rates of declining memory,
according to a study
published in the American Journal of Public Health.
That study examined the recall of a 10-word list. Social integration was
measured by factors like marital status, volunteer activity and frequency
of contact with others.
“The working hypothesis is that social engagement is what makes you
mentally engaged,” says senior author Lisa F. Berkman.
3. Socialization May Support Brain Health
Social engagement may support brain health and possibly delay the onset of
according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The American Academy of Neurology studied the relationship between
dementia, stress, and socialization and found that “people who are socially
active and not easily stressed may be less likely to develop dementia.”
There are plenty of ways to help your loved one's mind sharp. Click here
for more advice on keeping your loved one’s mind sharp in: "7 Ways to Help
Seniors Keep a Sharp Mind."