Guest post by Mary Jean
We all have an innate want for meaningful social engagement. It plays a crucial role in the quality of life, especially for seniors. According to WHO, the effect of social isolation and loneliness has similar health declines to that of other well-established risk factors for mortality, such as smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.
A consistent social connection can keep older adults physically, emotionally, and mentally fit. It plays a vital role in both early and long-term development and reduces the effects of loneliness and senior isolation. Many modern-day assistance can aid in combating loneliness, such as Elder Companion Care, therapy, volunteer work, and much more.
Causes of Senior isolation and Benefits of Combating loneliness Most older adults are more at risk for social isolation and loneliness since they are more likely to face factors such as leaving the workplace, loss of family or friends, living alone, and hearing loss. By developing social connections, you’d be able to have numerous emotional and physical
benefits such as:
Improved Heart Health: Socialising improves cardiac issues caused by poor mental health, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, low blood flow to the heart, and heightened levels of cortisol.
Improved mental health: Socialisation combats and reduces negative psychological illnesses such as anxiety, loneliness, and depression. Engaging in social activities allows people to feel valued, improves mood, and boosts a
person’s outlook on life.
Improved Cognitive Functions: Connecting with others, laughing, and talking increases your emotional relaxation. The relief socializing gives can stimulate our attention, improve memory and help to strengthen the neural networks
in our brains.
Ways to Combat Isolation in Seniors
It’s important to be physically active for seniors, as it encourages them to live an active and engaged life. Exercising on your own also brings many health benefits that improve both your mental and physical health. It allows you to take in your surroundings, and you may bump into neighbours or others on the same ‘exercise shift’ as you. Just remember that if it’s your first time, it’s all well and good to walk for short periods. You’ll still get the benefits that exercise provides.
Staying physically active helps prevent and alleviate loneliness and isolation in numerous ways. It lets you maintain your independence while providing a good way to connect and engage with other people and minimizing the risk of social isolation and loneliness. By participating in regular walks, our brains also release endorphins, otherwise known as happy chemicals – which help reduce stress and related symptoms, and improve your sense of well-being, which helps improve your mood and make socializsing easier.
Sign up for Senior centre programs
Senior centres provide opportunities to form connections with others. Activities that can accommodate different interests and talents and offer further opportunities for seniors to socialize with others, make new friends, and learn new skills. Some educational activities, including computer and language classes, help seniors improve their communication skills, keep in touch with friends and family, and further engage in the digital world.
When you can’t be around in person, connect virtually with friends, family, and neighbours
Social technologies provide valuable opportunities for these people to stay connected to the world. Seniors who are socially isolated have few opportunities to share information about their day-to-day lives. Sharing photographs, memes, fun and relatable videos, and relaying messages and video calls within a closed group are important outlets for online communication. Additionally, sharing images and texts is a great and fun way to communicate for those that develop age-related speech problems.
Participate in volunteer work, especially within the local community
One of the best ways to make new friends is to do volunteer work with the local community, and the best way to strengthen already existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, and since it’s within the community, you may find people who are interested in meetings outside the volunteer centres. It also
strengthens your ties to the community and widens your support network, exposing you to people with common interests.
Volunteering allows you to get to know, practice and develop your social skills since you regularly meet with a group of people with common interests. Once you have gained momentum, making more friends and staying in contact becomes easier.
Social isolation and loneliness majorly impact seniors’ health, longevity, and quality of life. By adding yourself to group activities, like classes, volunteer work, and social media, you’d not only improve your mental, emotional, and
physical well-being but will also find it easier to converse and make new friends and associates outside of these group programs.