Of all the things we consider vital to our health, like nutrition, exercise, and getting enough sleep, for example, socialization isn't typically on the list. Socialization actually has a very big impact on the mental and physical well-being of seniors. At the same time, it's often harder to socialize as you age due to friends moving, loved ones passing away, and limited mobility, making it more challenging to get out and about. As such, many seniors become socially isolated without even realizing it. Senior living communities can help seniors avoid isolation and be more socially active. Here's how.
According to the National Institute on Aging, socialization for seniors helps to decrease their risk of anxiety and depression, which may not surprise you. What may be surprising is that the National Institute on Aging also reports that seniors who have strong social connections are also said to have a lower risk for Alzheimer's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer than those who don't.
However, the CDC recently highlighted a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) study, which found that social isolation significantly increased a person's risk of premature death from all causes. That risk may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity, especially with seniors. What's more, the NASEM study indicates that nearly a quarter of adults aged 65 and over are considered socially isolated.
The AARP Foundation defines it as being psychologically and/or physically detached from support groups of family, friends, and community. This differs from loneliness, which they describe as the feeling or perception of being alone. Some of the top causes of social isolation include the following:
The causes above show why where you live is so important when it comes to socialization for seniors. Socialization is simply more difficult at home, particularly when living alone. In fact, seniors who live by themselves spend about 10 and a half hours alone each day on average, according to the Pew Research Center. But even those who live with someone other than a spouse still spend an average of seven and a half hours alone each day.
However, socialization is actually one of the biggest draws of senior living. Here are three ways communities like ours can help improve socialization for seniors:
To learn more about selecting a senior living community that helps you remain socially active, download our Choosing the Right Community Guide today!