We all need social support and friendship throughout our lives, but social interaction becomes especially important for our health as we age.
Researchers have found that nearly a quarter of adults aged 65 and older are considered socially isolated. Social isolation is associated with increased risks of dementia, depression, and even heart issues.
Let’s take a look at why socialization is important for seniors, the health benefits, how to build a social support system, and how a senior living community is the best option for seniors at risk of loneliness or isolation.
Why is socialization important for seniors?
Older adults are more likely to experience social isolation because they may be retired, live alone after the death of a spouse, or have a chronic illness that prevents them from easily leaving their homes.
Humans are naturally social. Living in a community setting is beneficial for seniors because it allows them to build friendships and live an overall more active and healthy lifestyle.
Loneliness and social isolation negatively affect senior health in numerous ways. Lonely seniors may be less active and more stressed, which can affect everything from brain health to heart health.
Let’s take a look at the mental health benefits of socialization in seniors, as well as the health hazards if these needs are not met.
Mental health benefits of socialization in seniors
Senior isolation and loneliness can lead to increased anxiety and depression in seniors.
Depression and anxiety can cause feelings of guilt, hopelessness, or helplessness in seniors, as well as sleep issues and changes in weight or appetite.
A socially active life combats anxiety and depression. Close friends provide a source of love and support, which helps a person to feel valued and filled with purpose.
Close relationships with others also provide entertainment, opportunities for physical activity such as walking or sports, and game-play that sharpens the mind.
Risk factors for isolation and loneliness in seniors
Seniors are more at risk of social isolation than other age groups because of the life changes that occur as we age.
For example, a retired senior has lost a lifelong source of social interaction throughout their career. Seniors also are more likely to have lost a spouse or to have adult children that have moved to a different city or state.
Additionally, older adults are more likely to have a chronic illness or hearing loss that prevents them from easily navigating an active social life.
As a result, they may be forced to stay at home alone for long periods of time, which naturally leads to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Health hazards of senior isolation
Isolation significantly impacts a person’s physical and mental health. Studies have shown loneliness can impact a senior’s health in the following ways:
- 50% increased risk of dementia
- Significantly increased risk of premature death
- Significantly increased risk of death among heart failure patients
- 32% increased risk of stroke
- 29% increased risk of heart disease
- Higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide
It’s important for seniors to develop enjoyable social connections focused on their unique hobbies and interests.
How to find sources of social support
The level of social interaction a senior desires is based on their own preferences and personality, so it’s important to find a level of social support that suits these needs.
While creating more activities and social opportunities can be helpful for lonely seniors, senior living communities often are the best option.
Our senior loved ones frequently are forced into isolation due to chronic health issues. An assisted living community can provide both medical and social support to improve quality of life.
Even if your loved one does not have any health issues, an assisted living community in a beautiful setting can provide all the onsite services a senior needs to support their personal health and physical well being— and to avoid isolation.
If you’re eager to help your senior loved one meet new friends, stay active, and live a more fulfilled, happy life, Redondo Beach ensures seniors can engage in the following activities in their senior living community:
- Brain fitness activities
- Bead therapy
- Regular game nights or movie nights
- Restaurant outings
- Daily live music and happy hour
- Current events and educational/historical presentations
- Exercise for the mind and body
- Quality time with friends and neighbors
- Social clubs to chat with coffee
- Bridge club
- Men’s club
Assisted living communities such as The Kensington Redondo Beach offer numerous programs and services to help seniors feel fulfilled, happy, and healthy.
The Kensington Redondo Beach supports an active, social lifestyle for seniors
The Kensington Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own. Our team understands that an essential part of healthy aging is staying active and building friendships.
The Kensington team draws from the interests of our residents to create a full calendar of activities seven days a week, from morning until night. We are true partners in care, and the calendar fits the loves and interests of the residents. If it isn’t on the calendar, we will get it on there.
We host a daily happy hour and live music, beach walks, and plenty of time outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine. Residents are encouraged to participate as much as they would like.
In addition to our life enrichment activities, residents also have easy access to Riviera Village, the Redondo Beach Pier, and much more. In our elegant dining room, families can share a meal with their loved ones.
We want our residents to experience true “aging in place,” where no matter how their care needs change over time, they have a home with us.
Come home to The Kensington Redondo Beach.
Contact us today to learn more about our loving community, and our dedication to better mental health and well-being for your senior loved one.