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The Importance of Social Interaction for Seniors in Care Homes

Socialization

Homebound elders often feel isolated and alone because friends, spouses, and contemporaries have moved away or passed on. Their physical ailments (such as needing a wheelchair or walker) or mental barriers to socializing, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other memory loss conditions, can keep them from engaging in society.

Seniors in care homes and sheltered housing societies can regularly interact with their peers through group classes, outings, and social activities. This creates a sense of belonging and affirms their value as community members.

When seniors interact with others in a healthy and positive environment, they become more active and can live longer lives. Studies show that individuals with strong social connections are at a lower risk of death. In addition, they have a higher quality of life and can reduce medical costs for long-term care. This can help them have a better aging experience and reduce the chances of mental decline and depression.

Companionship

Loneliness in seniors can be exacerbated by living alone or moving into a care home where they don’t know the other residents. Companion caregivers offer more than just medical assistance and support for daily activities; they also provide an emotional and social connection that combats loneliness and improves quality of life.

Caregivers encourage social engagement by accompanying seniors on outings and community events, visits with friends and family members, or simply sitting and talking together. They may also engage them in mental exercises such as puzzles and brain games to promote cognitive health, memory retention, and overall alertness.

Additionally, they can help with daily chores like shopping, cooking, cleaning, bathing, and reminders for taking medications and getting to and from appointments. Whether they visit regularly as a companion or move into the care home as a live-in carer, they give seniors something to look forward to and fill that irreplaceable void that loneliness and isolation can cause.

Mental Health

A lack of social interaction has been linked to depression in seniors. This mental health condition has been known to cause several physical issues, including heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Depression can also lead to isolation, a dangerous situation that can increase the risk of dementia as you age.

Studies have shown that people with more varied social ties tend to be more physically active, so your senior care home must offer a variety of activities that will encourage them to socialize. For example, nonprofit programs like befriending have effectively reduced hospital admissions and long-term care costs.

During a clinical assessment, your senior clinician must ask about their social values and the barriers they face to staying connected. This can help them develop a plan to stay engaged even during the COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. Additionally, it can assist them in maintaining their standard of living and lower their risk of sadness and loneliness.

Physical Health

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, seniors in care homes can continue to suffer from isolation. Whether they feel unsafe to leave their home, have had family members who have dropped out due to social distancing restrictions, or do not receive visits from friends and relatives, many elders are lonely. Getting them involved in organized group activities will combat loneliness and increase vitality.

This is why many sheltered housing societies and care homes offer residents various activities, from cooking classes to music lessons. These social pursuits will improve their mood, help them connect to the people around them, and sharpen their memory skills. They can even positively affect their immune system, allowing them to fight off colds and the flu more easily. This can also help them live longer and better. Studies have shown that people with more social interaction tend to have a lower mortality rate than those without.

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