You hear over and over how important it is to be physically active. But do you hear that it is also important to be socially active? People who are socially active have better mental health as well as cognitive function. They feel like they belong and are more connected to the world around them. Those who do not spend time others have a higher risk of developing depression and possibly dementia.
Since July is Social Wellness Month, we want to share 4 tips to help your senior loved one stay more socially active:
- Volunteer. Give your loved one the opportunity to give back to the community through volunteer work. Maybe they can help stuff envelopes for a mailing for a non-profit, help in a soup kitchen or even socialize with cats or dogs at a local animal shelter. Studies show that volunteering can lead to better health and mental cognition. It also gives people a sense of purpose as they do good for their community.
- Find or Continue a Hobby. Does your loved one like to paint, draw, play bridge, take pictures, fish or golf? If so, help them expand that hobby. There may be classes or events at a local park district or YMCA where they can get involved. There they can make friends and interact with other people who have the same passion.
- Catch Up with Old Friends. Does your loved one only talk to the same family members or a couple close friends? Why not reach out to other family members or friends that they haven’t seen in a while and let them reconnect. If they can build a bigger social network, they won’t feel isolated.
- Interact with a Pet. Did your loved one have a cat or dog growing up or as a younger adult? If they can care for it, why not get them a pet that would be easy to take care of. (Cats are pretty self-sufficient.) If they don’t get a pet of their own, see ‘Volunteer’ above. If they are able, maybe they could volunteer at a local animal shelter a couple times a month. Psychology Today reviewed a number of published studies and found that pets do make excellent therapists. In fact, when looking at studies involving Alzheimer’s, development disabilities and even schizophrenia, the patients who interacted with therapy animals saw beneficial results.
At Assisting Hands Home Care, our caregivers can provide your loved one with safe transportation to activities so they can continue to have outside social interaction, as well as to and from doctor and other appointments, grocery shopping or other errands. Whether you need someone to be with them during the day, in the evening or overnight, our at home care can accommodate your needs. You will sleep better knowing that they aren’t home alone when they need help with medication, fall prevention, personal care, eating or other needs.