As we age, we go through different experiences and changes to our everyday lives. As we become seniors, those changes tend to include things like retirement and loss of friends and family, whether that be through relocation or illnesses and, unfortunately, death. A result of these experiences is the amount of social interaction that we engage in on a daily basis significantly decreases. What we may not realize, though, is how much that actually affects us on an emotional, mental, and physical level.
Social groups for seniors are incredibly important to every aging person’s overall health. There are a wide variety of risks that social seniors are less prone to, just by continuing to be social.
We’ve all experienced feeling lonely to some extent, but what are the long-term effects of loneliness? According to a recent study, loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking or obesity.
Social seniors tend to feel more like they are still part of the world around them. Social isolation and loneliness decreases considerably if they have the opportunity to spend time with their friends and peers.
The many changes we experience in our lives as we age often times can lead to feelings of despair, helplessness, lack of motivation and energy, and loss of self-worth, among other things. These are all signs of depression, which is not something that goes hand-in-hand with the aging process. Socially-isolated seniors are at an even higher risk of depression due to lack of social interaction and feelings of inclusion.
Social groups for seniors can create an environment that leads them to have a more positive outlook on life. Due to the connections they form in these groups, social seniors typically feel like their lived are much more fulfilled. Being around their peers in these social groups, seniors are able to bond with others who know what they are going through. These connections then result in better long-term mental health and happiness.
Being able to have daily conversations with our friends and family members helps keep our minds and memories sharp. The stimulation we receive from a friendly debate or in-depth discussion about a shared interest or hobby is a mental exercise in itself. When an older adult becomes more isolated, these conversations become less common, which then results in less mental stimulation.
Social seniors are much less at risk of cognitive decline. In fact, a study found that social seniors are 70% less likely to show signs of cognitive decline than those with less frequent social interaction. The risk of Alzheimer’s disease is also doubled in socially isolated seniors than that of their counterparts.
As we age, there are inevitably things we are less able to do, physically. What we may not realize, though, is the impact social interaction has on the rate of physical decline. Seniors without a social group are more likely to smoke, drink in excess, and overlook the necessity of physical activity. As a result, less social seniors tend to have higher rates of cardiovascular problems, arthritis, and high blood pressure. They also are more prone to falls and weight gain.
Social seniors, on the other hand, tend to be much more independent as they age. If they have a social group, they will have more people motivating them to be active. Less of their time is spent sitting or lying around, but actually up and engaged in some sort of activity. Consequently, more physically-abled, social seniors are less likely to require services like assisted living or skilled nursing, as they are able to take care of themselves for a longer time.
At a senior living facility and continuing care community like The GreenFields, residents are able to engage in social groups for seniors. The activities are planned on campus or provide transportation to offsite locations. The GreenFields encourages residents to interact with their friends and neighbors, who are in the same stage of life, making meaningful connections even easier to find. Ultimately, social seniors tend to have a longer life span due to the many positive effects social interactions have on our lives, of which we may not even be aware.
Learn More About Opportunities for Social Seniors
The GreenFields Continuing Care Community provides many activities to its residents and has several senior living options. Our Senior Living Department can be reached at (716) 684-8400.
“What I like best is the congeniality of residents and staff, apartments in assisted living, the continuing care concept, and an abundance of activities.” – GreenField Manor Resident
About The GreenFields Continuing Care Community
The GreenFields Continuing Care Community provides for the physical, social, and spiritual needs of residents in a Christian environment. In addition to skilled nursing, subacute rehabilitation, and outpatient therapy at GreenField Health & Rehabilitation Center, The GreenFields offers a variety of living arrangements and support levels based on individual needs. This includes independent living apartments in GreenField Manor; assisted living apartments in GreenField Court; and memory care and enhanced assisted living in GreenField Terrace. Residents at The GreenFields also receive priority access to all other levels on The GreenFields campus.