The Importance of Socialization for Seniors
Ask anyone what they’re missing most during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the answer will be pretty unanimous: friends and family. We’ve all learned that absence does, in fact, make the heart grow fonder, and being separated from the people we care about isn’t fun. In fact, it’s downright boring, depressing and – in some cases – sickening. That’s right! Socialization isn’t just good for the soul. It’s also good for our minds and our bodies - and missing out on socialization with other people can lead to very real mental and physical health problems.
That’s particularly true for seniors, who can start to lose socialization opportunities even in normal times due to causes like transportation issues, friends dying or moving away, the difficulty of getting out, etc. But that need for support, love and company doesn’t diminish. You could, in fact, say that socialization is even more important for seniors than for younger individuals.
Older adults who have a great social life often end up avoiding many of the emotional, physical and cognitive issues that more isolated seniors encounter. Here are some reasons why:
● Reduced levels of stress. Older adults who remain socially active can handle stress better. This leads to a better immune system and better cardiovascular health.
● A longer life. It’s true! Being social helps older adults live longer.
● Better physical health. People who stay social end up being more physically active, which leads to improved health results.
● Less anxiety and better self-esteem. Besides reducing stress, socialization helps reduce anxiety, depression and other unwanted emotions...all of which lead to feeling better about oneself and feeling happier.
● Better brain function. Seniors who remain socially active end up reducing their risk of cognitive decline and dementias like Alzheimer’s disease.
However, even with all these great benefits, many seniors can find it hard to remain socially active as they age. Physical ailments increase as our years increase, which can make it hard to move around or even get out of the house. Losing a spouse or other loved ones means losing an instant support group. Cognitive decline can also play a part, whether it’s due to something serious like Alzheimer’s or if it’s a temporary situation caused by medications or depression. All of these obstacles act as vicious circles that can be hard to escape.
Luckily, there are many places these days where seniors can get the social interaction they need. In fact, many individuals living at Melrose chose to move here because they wanted the increased opportunity for socialization and community that we provided. There’s always something going on here, whether it’s a happy hour, an ice cream social, bingo, a dance party, fitness classes, movie nights, book club, coloring club...life here can get pretty darned lively.
Sure, the coronavirus has caused us to get a little more creative in order to remain social while staying socially distanced. But that doesn’t deter us! Right now, we’re always spread out during group activities, and everyone is wearing masks. It’s actually been rather fun to come up with new and improved ideas for our activities. For example, instead of doing a big party each month with drinks and food, we’re doing a Happy Hour bar cart that comes down the hallways – talk about service! It takes creativity and cooperation, and so far we think we’ve done a pretty great job. We know you’ll think so, too.
Melrose Meadows is healthy, COVID-free and open for visitors and new residents. Get in touch to schedule your in-person or virtual tour!
 https://www.actsretirement.org/latest-retirement-news/blog/2017/12/12/the-importance-of-socializing-for-seniors/  https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/active-social-life-longevity/  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evidence-based-living/201703/exercise-and-social-support-what-we-know  http://secondwindmovement.com/social-interaction-for-seniors/  https://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/info-11-2008/friends-are-good-for-your-brain.html