Humans are inherently social beings. However, for seniors, socialization can be difficult. According to National Institute on Aging, almost three in ten American seniors live alone, which amounts to approximately 13.8 million people. Moreover, a study by the UCSF Division of Geriatrics showed that 43% of seniors feel lonely on a regular basis.
While loneliness and isolation can be shrugged off by some, they can actually have a profound long-term impact on your health. Read on to learn more about the importance of socialization and how it can improve your senior living in Bixby, OK.
The Health Hazards of Senior Isolation
Isolation can impact almost every aspect of your life. A study from the National Academy of Sciences has shown that isolated and lonely seniors exhibited higher rates of poor mental and physical health. Moreover, those suffering from isolation and loneliness are more likely to suffer the following health concerns:
- Depression and anxiety
- Coronary artery disease
- Cardiac failure
- Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia
- Unhealthy habits such as smoking and physical inactivity
Seniors are the most at risk for social isolation and loneliness as compared to the rest of the US population. You or your loved ones may be at a higher risk of loneliness and isolation if you’re over 80 years old, suffer from chronic health conditions, or have limited contact with your family and friends.
A study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has shown that social isolation increased the risk of premature death. Loneliness and social isolation were linked to a 50% increased risk of dementia, 29% increased risk of heart disease, and 32% increased risk of stroke. These risks rival those of physical inactivity, obesity, and smoking. To avoid this, it is important for you and your loved ones to stay engaged throughout the day.
The Benefits of Socialization in Seniors
Staying in close contact with friends and family can have an immense impact on the mental health of seniors. According to Dr. Craig Sawchuk, Ph.D., humans “are social animals by nature, so we tend to function better when we’re in a community setting and being around others.” By socializing more, seniors can forge meaningful connections with friends and family. Forming a stronger emotional support
How to Promote Socialization in Seniors
As you or your loved ones grow older, it is easy to become more isolated and lonely. Over time, you can settle into inactive routines and grow more sedentary. For many seniors, it is easier to be isolated than to socialize with others. As such, you or your loved ones need to take proactive action to socialize with other people. You can do so by:
- Joining senior support groups
- Having regular phone calls and video calls with your friends and family
- Participating in senior-friendly events
- Playing bingo, billiards, and other games with other seniors
If you or your loved ones are looking to socialize more with others, a retirement community can help you do so by providing ample opportunity to bond with others of a similar age and life experiences. Contact us today to find out more.