If you’ve ever watched young children at the playground, you know how quickly they gravitate towards other kids, and how natural it is for them to become fast friends. Sadly, as we grow older, we tend to become more reserved and self-conscious, and it becomes harder to make and sustain new friendships. And for the elderly, the loss of friends and loved ones over the years makes it even more difficult to maintain strong social ties.
However, remaining socially active and engaged is so important at any age, and socialization in the elderly is particularly critical to health and wellbeing. The National Institute on Aging reports that elderly socialization reduces the risk for depression and boosts cognitive functioning, helping to protect against Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
There are a number of ways you can help your older loved ones increase socialization. Here are just a few ideas from the Butler senior care experts at Absolute Companion Care:
- Connect with the local senior center. In the U.S. alone, there are millions of elders utilizing the services of around 15,000 senior centers, which offer a plethora of elderly socialization opportunities – from activities and classes to healthy meals to fun day trips, and much more. Some centers offer job training and volunteer opportunities, providing the added bonus of the means to find purpose and self-worth in serving the community.
- Learn something new. A quick online search is sure to reveal educational opportunities for elders at the local community college, university or other organization – some of which are even free of charge. Perhaps your elder loved one has always wanted to learn a new language, or to play an instrument. Signing up for a class of interest gives the benefit of following that dream as well as meeting others who share that interest.
- Join the gym. Regardless of fitness level, staying physically active is vitally important, and with the doctor’s recommendation, older adults can improve physical and emotional health as well as socialization by signing up for a yoga class, water aerobics, tai chi, or even a senior dance program.
- Pick up a hobby. There are a variety of clubs and groups that cater to particular hobbies, such as knitting, painting, gardening, religious activities, just to name a few. As enjoyable as crocheting may be for your elder loved one, it’s so much more fun when shared with a friend.
- Partner with Absolute Companion Care. A professional in-home care agency, such as Absolute Companion Care, can provide a friendly, fully trained and experienced companion to spend time with an older adult, engaging in conversations, reminiscing, sharing meals together, playing cards or board games, exercising, enjoying hobbies and interests – whatever the senior desires. We can also provide safe, reliable transportation and accompaniment for outings, which is especially beneficial for older adults who no longer drive and want to regain the freedom and independence to come and go as they please.
We’d love to help your elder loved ones remain socially active, bringing a smile and added joy to each day. Contact us at 410-357-9640 to learn more about our Butler senior care services, provided in the comfort of home, or to schedule a free in-home consultation.