The Importance of Socialization for Seniors | Virginia Beach Estate & Elder Lawyer

Older adults living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities must interact with others to maintain overall health. Many facilities implement programs so residents can participate in various events. Avoiding isolation is vital for a person’s well-being.

Most people know the importance of social interaction. Even young adults and children need to socialize with other people to thrive and combat depression and other issues that arise from loneliness.

Studies have shown that seniors benefit from better physical and emotional health when socially active. The consequences of living a solitary life can be detrimental. Human connection is necessary as people get older, especially if they live in a facility away from their family.

Loneliness Is Dangerous for the Elderly

According to statistics gathered by the University of Michigan, 41 percent of adults aged 50 to 80 experienced a lack of companionship in the first few months of 2020. Additionally, 56 percent of older adults stated they felt isolated from others during this same period.

Researchers discovered a link between social isolation and loneliness and the risk of various health problems. The most common include:

  • Stroke
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Hypertension
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
  • Weaker immune system
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Low level of functioning
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart attack
  • Weight gain
  • Death

Persistent isolation in older adults can also reduce a person’s quality of life, cause memory issues, and shorten life expectancy as much as smoking or living a sedentary lifestyle. 

Social Interactions Improve Well-Being

Interacting with others in a social setting can build a person’s confidence and provide a range of health benefits. Older adults typically experience a natural decline in how much they socialize due to multiple factors, including:

  • Family members and friend’s deaths
  • Diminished interactions with colleagues following retirement
  • Moving away from family and friends

Elderly individuals could benefit from joining a club or group of people who enjoy the same things they do. Life is more enjoyable for seniors when they have something to look forward to. These interactions can boost their mood, improve self-esteem, and even promote a healthier immune system.

Lower the Risk of Dementia by Socializing

Studies have shown cognitive decline occurs when older adults do not socialize with others. Those same studies also show that consistent socializing can improve memory and brain health. Researchers theorize that as physical exercise benefits muscle tone and bone mass, socialization benefits the healthy functioning of the brain.

Lonely and isolated older adults often find it difficult to focus. Stimulating activities requiring concentration and attention on mental tasks can improve focus. Socialization should occur daily to keep the brain working and avoid cognitive decline.

If you must make the difficult decision to move your loved one into a nursing home, ensure numerous and varied social activities are available for them to enjoy. They should have access to various events or programs to reduce their risk of loneliness, and so they do not face the associated physical and mental consequences.

If you are just getting started with the process, our estate and elder lawyers in Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, and throughout the Peninsula are here to assist you. We can connect you with trusted resources in our community to help you locate quality care services, and our team of attorneys can collaborate with you to create a plan to pay for the care you need without unnecessarily losing hard-earned assets. For assistance, contact us at (757) 645-3176 or (866) 603-5976.