If you’ve ever watched young kids at a playground, you’ve seen how readily they gravitate towards other kids, and how easy it is for them to be fast friends. Sadly, as we age, we usually tend to begin to be more self-conscious and reserved, and it becomes much harder to make and maintain friendships. And for seniors, the loss of family and friends over the years makes it even more challenging to preserve strong social ties.
Still, continuing to be socially active and engaged is so essential at any age, and senior socialization is extremely vital to overall health and wellbeing. The National Institute on Aging states that socializing in older adults lessens the chance for depression and promotes cognitive functioning, helping to protect against Alzheimer’s and other kinds of dementia.
There are quite a few ways to help your aging loved ones enrich senior socialization. The following are just a few suggestions from the home care Overland Park team at Hearts at Home:
- Partner with the neighborhood senior center. In the United States alone, there are millions of senior individuals enjoying the numerous services of upwards of 15,000 senior centers, which promote a wide range of senior socialization options – from activities and classes to nourishing meals to fun day trips, and much more. Some senior centers offer job training and volunteer programs, giving the extra bonus of providing a sense of meaning and purpose through serving the community.
- Learn a new skill. A quick Google search is sure to disclose learning opportunities for senior individuals at the local community college, university or other organization – some of which are even offered at no cost. It could be that your elderly loved one has always wanted to learn a new language, or to play an instrument. Joining a class of interest provides the benefit of realizing that dream along with getting to know other people who share that interest.
- Join the health club. Whatever a person’s physical fitness level, continuing to be physically active is extremely important, and with the physician’s endorsement, older adults can make improvements to physical and mental health as well as senior socialization by enrolling in a class such as yoga, water aerobics, tai chi, or even a senior dance program.
- Start a hobby. There are various groups that are based on particular hobbies and interests, such as drawing, gardening, crocheting, and religious activities, just to name a few. As rewarding as an activity such as these may be for your senior loved one, it’s so much more fun when shared with a companion.
- Work with Hearts at Home. A professional home care agency, such as Hearts at Home, can supply a compassionate, fully trained and experienced companion to visit a senior, participate in conversations, reminisce, share meals together, play cards or board games, exercise, enjoy hobbies and interests – whatever the senior desires. We can also provide safe, dependable transportation and accompaniment for excursions, which is especially helpful for seniors who no longer drive and want to acquire the freedom and independence to come and go as they please.
We would love to help your older loved ones remain socially active, bringing a smile and added joy to each day. Contact us at 913-440-4209 to learn more about our home care Overland Park services, provided in the pleasure of home, or to set up a free in-home consultation.