Socialization and Its Many Benefits
As people grow older, their social support plays a significant role in overall health. Research has shown that spending time with friends, neighbors and family members can have many positive effects, enhancing seniors’ quality of life, physical health and mental health.
For some seniors – particularly those with memory loss – there may be fewer opportunities to socialize as they age. Whether driving and/or getting out of the house has become more difficult, their circle of friends has become smaller, their contact with former work colleagues has decreased or their memory impairment interferes with participating in activities, older adults tend to socialize less.
However, a high level of social support – as found at Highpoint at Stonecrest – has been shown to reduce stress, ward off anxiety and depression, and reduce the risk of some physical health concerns. For individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, engaging with other people in social situations has been shown to be particularly helpful and may even slow the progress of these conditions. One study found that cognitive abilities declined 70 percent more slowly in individuals who had frequent social connections compared to those who had little social contact with others.
The strong correlation between social interaction and the health and well-being of seniors who have the opportunity to be social has been recognized by the National Institute on Aging. Socialization has been found to support brain health, and while the exact mechanism may not be completely understood, individuals with a strong social network generally retain more memories than peers who are more isolated.
Feeling lonely or isolated can have a physical and emotional impact on older adults. Seniors who are chronically lonely often have elevated systolic blood pressure and are also at greater risk for depression. Socialization, when provided in a safe, structured manner, can make a positive difference in the quality of life for those impaired by dementia. Memory care at Highpoint ensures your loved one stays as healthy and connected as possible in a supportive, family-like setting.
For seniors to fully realize the health benefits of being social, support should include activities as well as physical companionship and conversation. At Highpoint, we incorporate purposeful memory care activities, holistic wellness programming and frequent socialization into the daily lives of residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Our whole-person, whole-community philosophy, Masterful Moments®, focuses on enhancing the four components of successful aging: social, spiritual, intellectual and physical.