Though many seniors in the Long Beach area know they’re supposed to stay physically active and mentally stimulated, especially if they live by themselves and receive in-home care, not everyone knows that having social stimulation is also vital.
It’s no surprise that it’s easy for people to feel lonely sometimes. Family members may have passed away or moved away, and even loved ones close by may be busy with their own lives or families so aren’t able to spend a lot of time together.
The team at Accredited Home Care is knowledgeable about all the factors that go into overall wellness, and “social” is a big part. So we’re always happy to share information about local resources or provide suggestions about ways clients can satisfy their important need for social wellness.
We start by making sure the visits by our nurses, therapists, and various caregivers during their appointments include some social components as well. After all, just coming in and performing whatever check-ups and procedures we’re required to do, and then quickly leaving, won’t be fun for anyone. Instead, our team makes sure to offer pleasant conversation which can hopefully brighten everyone’s day.
But someone wanting to improve their social wellness should make sure to find other ways to interact with others.
After all, “lots of things to do and fun people to meet” is one of the selling points of retirement communities, but if someone doesn’t have a medical need to relocate, many seniors, if given the choice, prefer to live independently in their own home.
Why be social
There are plenty of advantages to being social, especially later in life.
- Plenty of shared interests. Because seniors represent a huge part of the population, there are good odds you’ll find people interested in sharing experiences and performing activities together, including cooking or working on home projects.
- It feels good. Having social outlets and opportunities to interact with others make you more prone to laugh, which is good for the brain and for the body.
- It’s better for you than not interacting. Focusing on social wellness combats negatives from a lack of people such as loneliness. It’s easy for loneliness to turn into depression, which can cause a variety of mental and physical conditions, everything from a lack of appetite to a decreased immune system that can lead to a greater chance for illness. Depression also makes it difficult to keep oneself motivated to get up and become physically active, something that is also essential to overall wellness.
- It can help you plan. If it’s difficult for family members, friends or loved ones to take you places on a regular basis, they may be more likely to do so if you schedule something in advance, like a monthly meeting of a club or even groups of friends. It does take a little organization but can be easier for busy people to schedule in. If someone has child care concerns, offer to do some babysitting in exchange for the occasional ride.
- It can encourage you to learn new skills. If you’re not on social media, sign up for Facebook. A computer or mobile phone also allows you to talk to people via video conferencing like Skype, Facetime or Messenger. If you’re not sure how it all works, ask a neighbor, grandchild or even a home health care representative for help. These services allow you to have a one-on-one conversation by talking to and seeing people. If the people you’re calling are too busy to talk now, ask when a better time can be and get on their schedule.
Other social strategies
Certainly it’s easy to think that it’s difficult to meet people at your age, especially if you may have some physical limitations (difficulty driving or mobility conditions.)
Start by connecting with your nearby world. Are there neighbors who also might want to go for walks or get together for activities once in awhile? If you’re not sure who to reach out to, maybe you can be the one to reach out. Maybe you can share what you’re interested in if there’s any kind of community bulletin board (real or electronic.) Your town also might have a senior center or community center that has programs, social activities and even classes about how to connect. There also might be non-profits in your community that can benefit from your abilities, experience and knowledge.
If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to get involved and get more social, this is a perfect time. Summer weather is great for outdoor activities like walking or gardening. July is also Social Wellness Month when American Senior Communities encourages seniors to focus on this component of their lives.
The ASC blog even encourages readers to learn more about themselves, which can help you figure out which types of social activities you should pursue, and which parts of your life can benefit from interactions with people, whether or not friendships are involved. There are also some suggestions on how to look for inner peace and self-reflection, which can also combat feelings of loneliness.
Accredited Home Care is happy to provide info about social wellness and other wellness factors.