For the vast majority of us, our fondest memories usually involve being around loved ones, whether that is our family, friends, or significant others. Humans are social creatures and often need social contact to keep sharp and emotionally healthy. This holds true no matter how old you are. For seniors, socializing is especially important and can be easily overlooked. In this blog, let’s take a look at some of the barriers that seniors face in keeping social, the benefits to a healthy social life, and the way Kemper House Central Ohio helps our residents stay social.
First, let’s look at some of the barriers that seniors face when attempting to build a healthy social life.
Many seniors, especially those suffering from dementia, are dealing with physical and/or cognitive ailments that hinder them from easily leaving their home. The same could be true of their friends with whom they are most comfortable. This can limit social activity and means that more deliberate planning is required to be in social spaces.
For some seniors, the death of a spouse can be detrimental to their social health. In some instances, spouses are the only major social contact for seniors. The loss of a loved one can lead to depression and a lack of motivation to be around others.
Specifically, for those with dementia, socializing can be difficult for others. Family members and friends can struggle with communicating with a loved one with dementia due to the disorganized thoughts or the repetition of conversations. Many can find this frustrating. But also, many find the cognitive decline hard to handle emotionally.
Direct and deliberate scheduling of social interaction is the best way to engage seniors and can have numerous benefits!
Socializing with others helps strengthen resilience, especially in terms of mental health. Seniors who participate regularly in social interactions with friends and family are less likely to develop depression and anxiety.
Having an active social life also has links to longer lifespans. This has been linked to decreased stress levels which can help your cardiovascular health. Decreased stress levels often leads to better sleep and eating habits.
An unlikely connection with increased social activity is also an increase in physical exercise. Seniors who regularly socialize are more likely to exercise and get more physical activity leading to stronger cardiovascular systems and healthier lifestyles.
Strong social interactions can also have cognitive benefits as well! Interacting with others in conversation or games helps keep the brain working. Essentially, social interactions are like cognitive exercise! These interactions can help keep the brain running at peak efficiency and can decrease the chances of dementia or slow down the degradation.
Seniors who participate regularly in social interactions with friends and family are less likely to develop depression and anxiety.
Kemper House Socializing
Kemper House Central Ohio is committed to creating a social atmosphere for our residents. We offer social events that can keep our residents engaged with their neighbors. We invite families to come out to some social activities to help our residents feel more comfortable in these spaces and make sure that social interactions do not cause undue stress.
Our physical space is built to promote social interaction as well. The interior has been designed by Lisa Cini of Mosaic studios. She specializes in designing spaces for residents who are dealing with symptoms of dementia. In her designs, she thinks about how important it is for residents to have a space that promotes community and social interactions. Wider, open spaces allowing for free movement and common areas that give our residents comfortable places to stop and talk with others.
At Kemper House Central Ohio, we want to take the benefits of socialization with our residents and make them easier to achieve. It can be difficult for seniors, especially those with cognitive impairment, to keep their social life strong and healthy as they age. The decisions have to be more deliberate and, for some, requires the help of others. We look forward to socializing with our residents and bringing people together to be a community that can share and experience their lives together.