Social Senior Smarts

By on Jul 12, 2018 in News, People

Social programming has long been a component of many senior living establishments. The quality and quantity of activities, however, vary greatly and may be affecting your residents’ health. The social programming at your site can contribute to the wellbeing and satisfaction of your residents, providing you with a competitive upper hand.

Socialization Boosts Wellness

Psychology Today reports on the health benefits of socializing. A few of the benefits include:

  1. Mental Fortitude: Interacting with other living beings has proven to improve memory and cognitive skills while fending off the onset and development of dementia.
  2. Mental Wellness: Face-to-face interaction minimizes the risk of depression, improves mood, and contributes to an overall sense of wellbeing.
  3. Longevity: Isolation can shorten our lifespans. Staying social helps to extend our lifeline regardless of our physical health history.
  4. Immunity: Socializing with others can strengthen seniors’ immune system. There is a complex relationship between our immune system and the regions of our brain that influence social interaction.
  5. Fitness: For seniors, interacting with others often includes getting out and doing things that they may not do alone. Social activities encourage seniors to stay physically active.

Just How Long Ought We Socialize?

How much socializing ought we pursue each day? Researchers suggest that we should aim for about six hours of interaction daily. This time can be spent with people, animals, or any combination of the two.

That recommendation may not work for everyone, particularly for seniors who have gone for many years limited interactions. Easing into an a socially active schedule little by little may be a more appropriate approach.

Ideas for More Social Seniors

Below are a few ideas for the community as well as individuals that can help seniors reach the recommended six hours of social activity.

  1. Community Classes: While arts and crafts are always a good idea, there are plenty of fun alternatives to conventional community classes. International cooking classes, craft beer projects, pet training, and smartphone photography are just a few creative ideas that seniors may enjoy.
  2. Hometown Tourism: A surprising number of residents may not have visited local tourist attractions. Taking the opportunity to see local sights reconnects seniors with their community and renews a sense of curiosity and amazement.
  3. Social Tech: Staying connected with loved ones ranks highly on many seniors’ lists of social activities. When family and friends aren’t nearby, the distance may seem like a hindrance. Today’s technology, such as Facetime and Zoom, make it possible to stay connected regardless of distance. Host classes that familiarize seniors with these tech tools.
  4. Family Ties: Schedule family nights where seniors can invite their grandchildren to participate in events at the community. Activities such movies, games, and crafts are a hit for participants of all ages.
  5. Dating: What can reignite the spark of vitality better than love? Online dating and speed dating can be fun ways for seniors to mingle.
  6. Volunteer: Participating in philanthropy can give seniors a renewed sense of purpose while interacting with others from various walks of life. Offer a wide variety of opportunities such as working with animals, children, religious organizations, and even other seniors.