Communicating with the elderly can be challenging. For that reason, we sometimes avoid interacting with them because we do not know what to do, or we delegate the responsibility of dealing with them to somebody else.
While that may be convenient for us, it certainly isn’t conducive for the physical and mental health of our senior relatives and loved ones. The fact of the matter is that social interactions, especially with those who the elderly are closest to, are key factors that affect their physical and mental health.
Benefits of Social Interaction to Seniors
Meaningful social interactions bring about myriads of benefits to seniors living at home, or seniors residing within the walls of senior living communities. Here are some examples of the benefits that can be derived from communicating and interacting with the seniors.
- Physical health benefits
Social interactions can bring about physical health benefits to our seniors. It must be remembered that in social interactions, and we engage and participate in activities with others in order to feel included. For seniors, these social activities like walking around, playing games or acquiring hobbies can immensely improve their health.
These social interactions bring about lifestyle changes that work as physical activities for the elderly. When the seniors take part in these activities, it lowers their blood pressure, reduces anxiety and stress and reduces their risk for cardiovascular health issues.
- Mental health benefits
As previously mentioned, communicating with the elderly can sometimes be challenging. Their advanced age affects their movement, their thought process and their health severely. Dealing with the elderly is overwhelming, and that is the reason why people often opt out of communicating with their seniors.
However, our fear and lack of knowledge when dealing with the elderly does not just affect us. Yes, it can make us feel uncomfortable. But lack of comfort is the worst that we can feel. To the elderly, our lack of initiative in communicating with them can lead to social isolation and extreme loneliness. It must be remembered that seniors are humans as well, and humans are social beings.
According to studies loneliness and social isolation is linked with cognitive decline, and people who have less social interactions have higher percentage of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s. In order to counter this mental decline, it is therefore necessary that we continuously communicate with the elderly. By doing so, we increase their chances for cognitive advancement, and decrease the chance for cognitive decline.
Improving Mental and Physical Health with Social Interactions
Social interactions are not just activities for leisure that work as distractions. These are also instrumental in terms of giving the elderly the chance to not only improve their mental health, but physical health as well.
For people who want to ensure that their elders have the best chance of remaining physically and mentally healthy, you must learn how to balance your time and dedicate some to interacting with your elders. If you cannot find the time to take care of them, then it is advisable to contact senior living communities near your area that specialize in taking care of the elderly, and integrating them into meaningful social interactions.
Written by The Village Of Bedford Walk, a senior living community in Columbia, MO.