Mental Health Benefits for Seniors from Socialization

Mental Health Benefits for Seniors from Socialization

Everyone struggles with their mental health sometimes but seniors generally tend to be at heightened risk compared to most. This increased fragility stems from common life stressors, compounded by other factors that set in at later stages of life such as declining functional abilities. Additionally, most seniors tend to live by themselves which takes a huge toll on the psyche as well. But what can be done to help? The answer is much simpler than you think: socialization. Here’s how socialization, particularly the kind that assisted living communities near me afford, can help the elderly enjoy better mental wellness.

1. Socialization keeps stress at bay

As the elderly retire from an active lifestyle during their latter years, they tend to become isolated and disconnected as the rest of the world speeds on without them. Seniors may retreat to their shells as the silence loudens, with studies by Tulane University showing that this isolation can lead to:

  • Higher anxiety and stress levels
  • A decline in social skills
  • Worse yet, suicidal thoughts

Socialization provides an excellent stress buster for seniors, which makes community senior living assistance important. Sharing conversations and good laughs with others is a great way for seniors to keep their cortisol- the hormone that triggers stress in the body- levels in check. In turn, the elderly feel more confident while anxiety decreases as well.

2. Reduced likelihood of developing dementia

It’s a fact. Seniors with stronger social networks are less likely to develop dementia compared to those with fewer social connections. But don’t just take our word for it. Here are some vital statistics to back it up from an AJPH study of 2,249 California seniors:

  • Dementia risk reduces by 12% for 60-year-olds who stay in touch with friends daily
  • There’s a 26% lower chance of dementia for socially active women
  • Women can reduce their risk of dementia by almost 50% with daily socialization

So how exactly does socialization reduce the risk of dementia? Well, think of your brain like any other muscle in your body. The more you work out, the more it stays fit, and vice versa. It’s the same thing for the mind. Socialization provides the workout your brain needs to stay healthy and works to positively stimulate the mind and keep dementia at arm’s length.

3. Socialization gives purpose and meaning to life

What is the meaning of life, and what is your purpose in it? For most people, the entirety of life is dedicated to a career or a job. When one day all of that goes away, namely during retirement, it’s easy for the elderly to feel lost and question their purpose in life.

Even despite having successful careers, life’s purpose can still be as elusive as a shooting star, with the doubts ringing ever so louder as the years advance.

However, when the elderly live for something bigger than themselves, they are less likely to feel this way. When they’re part of a community for assisted living for seniors, there’s much to gain for the elderly:

  • Give back to others and find happiness with random acts of kindness
  • Get inspired by their peers
  • Meet birds of the same feather who share interests and passions

In this and many other ways, senior care can help your aged loved ones to rediscover meaning and unlock their best lives.

4. It cushions mental decline resulting from isolation

By 2026, estimates indicate that we’re bound to hit the 2,000,000 mark in terms of the population of over 50-year-olds battling loneliness. This jaw-dropping and grim prediction was no doubt expedited by the pandemic, which created more social barriers for seniors and the world at large.
Loneliness can be particularly detrimental for the elderly, with studies showing it can:

  • Increase the risk of death by 26%
  • Compound depression
  • Catalyze rapid cognitive decline

Caused by the loss of friends/family, living alone, and chronic disabilities, isolation can lead to rapid mental health deterioration but this can, for the most part, be countered by the socialization that a memory day care for seniors near me provides.

5. Staying social is key to battling depression

As we age, our susceptibility to depression goes up. This can be a result of health complications among other contributors that naturally set in with age. The great thing about depression is that it’s a treatable medical condition, and it’s nothing good, respite care for seniors can’t help manage.

A UCD study by the Health Research Board finds that social interactions, when paired with other contemporary treatment options that a long-term memory care community provides, among the elderly can cure some of the symptoms of depression. 100 depression subjects noted tremendous mental improvement, with regular social support from friends, family, and the society at large. Their self-esteem went up and the participants were able to forge more positive friendships and relationships because of it.

6. Socialization helps breed accountability and satisfaction

In a senior care service, seniors can make friends and groups to help keep them accountable for their own mental wellness. These new social networks can help the elderly shake off a bad habit they’re slowly adopting and enable seniors to ensure they put their psychological well-being first as well. Naturally, there’s increased motivation to look after their mental well-being when seniors are part of a like-minded group pulling in the same direction. Moreover, this support system becomes an important refuge to fall back on when the going gets tough.

Beyond that, there is an increased fulfillment and satisfaction among seniors when they hang out with the right crowds excited by the same things. This leads to an enrichment of daily life as the elderly widen their social scope, which works to improve their quality of life in the long run.

To be human is to be social

Humans are inherently social creatures, and it’s in our DNA to want to talk to others and seek companionship wherever it lies. Social connections especially bring priceless value to the lives of the elderly and can mean a world of difference when it comes to keeping seniors in good shape, mentally. When friends and family live far away, loved ones can still ensure their seniors get these and other socialization benefits by getting them into a senior community. Here, seniors can connect with their peers and shake off the desolation that comes with isolation. If you’re on the hunt for an assisted living center near me, drop us an email today.

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