An important factor many will overlook when it comes to our elders care, is the importance of socialization and companionship. This can have a huge impact on their care because of the amount of good it can do in their transition. What are the ways that it can help? Socialization and companionship can help by helping improve their quality of life, keep them from feeling lonely and depressed, and finally keeping them active which will have a big impact in the long run.
There are a variety of ways that socialization can help your loved one improve their quality of life. Elders who get out and interact and spend more time with people during cold/flu season actually get fewer colds and illnesses than those who spend most of their time alone. Increasing their immune system will help them spend less days at the doctor’s office or the possible need for hospitalization due to complexities of illness.
Socialization can help your loved one from feeling lonely or depressed due to isolation. Symptoms of depression and memory problems affect many elders. Socialization can produce positive effects by improving mood and memory. My grandfather has always has a tendency to be a homebody, and doesn’t mind spending his days alone. However, when we made our time to see him and asked him to tell stories of his trinkets he had all over his house, he would light up. My Grandfather was a chief of a Tlingit tribe, and he never would talk very much until you brought up traditions or pictures, and he could go on for hours. That is why I can relate to how socialization is important for our elders, plus each elder is full of knowledge and stories that can be entertaining for everyone included.
A final way Socialization is important is by getting out loved ones up and out of the house. This helps them stretch and get moving which helps their joints and muscles. Being stuck in a chair or bed for long periods of time by themselves will cause their body to decline faster than one who is able to get up and move. My grandfather would be completely content staying in his recliner all day and watch his history channel. We try to avoid this by getting him out to the park, to different events going on, or taking him to a place that he would truly enjoy, such as the museum or the heritage center.
Creating friendships and getting your loved one out and socializing can create a great impact on them in the long run from health, to mood, memory, and keeping active. A little bit can go a long way and would be much appreciated by your loved ones. A great local resource for further information is our local Anchorage Senior Activity Center for more tips or current activities you can bring your loved one to.