At any age, but especially as a person ages, social interaction plays a large part in physical and mental well-being. For the elderly, isolation is a key factor that limits social interaction and is largely due to the fact that the person becomes housebound and doesn’t have the encouragement to get out. Yet, there are several great benefits to being engaged in social activities.
Think about my own grandma, for example. At 84 years old, she was depressed, wouldn’t eat normal meals, slept too much, and didn’t really go outside or exercise—without regular companionship. She had limited family near her and could no longer drive safely. Her isolation really took a toll on her physically, emotionally and mentally.
She started to get sick more often and was not walking well anymore. The rest of the family took notice of her deterioration and made a drastic change: My grandma moved to a different town, to live with my aunt and it really made a difference in her life, for the better. She was able to get around more, go to church often, go to the senior activity center and get her nails done regularly. There was also the added benefit that my uncle’s mother, who is a good friend, lived in the home as well.
Clearly this is not a viable option for everyone, but there are alternatives to ensure our loved ones are able to get the companionship and social interactions that they need. In Anchorage, there are several clubs that can be joined:
- Anchorage Women’s Club
- Newcomers/Long-Timers Club
- Anchorage Lions Club
- The Moose Lodge (where you can play bridge)!
If a club is not the right environment, there is the Anchorage Senior Activity Center. They always have great activities for socialization, as well as an exercise room.
Often transportation is an issue, but Anchorage offers several options to overcome this as well:
- Anchor Rides
- Mabel T. Caverly Senior Center
- Or, team with a home care agency such as Midnight Sun Home Care Inc.
Be the encouragement for someone you know to help them better their lives. That person could truly benefit from keeping in better physical shape, lowering the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s and developing a sense of community.