Think of the importance of social activities for children. They learn to interact with others, build friendships, and keep their brains and bodies healthy as they grow. For adults, social activities help to counterbalance the stress of work and lead to happy, fulfilling lives. The same principle applies to remaining socially active as a senior, and it is beneficial in the following ways:
MAINTAIN AND BUILD NEW RELATIONSHIPS
The human brain requires social stimulation on a regular basis, and this is an area of need for seniors, especially those who interact with the same people every day. Social activities stimulate the brain and keep those neurons firing, whether it is going to bingo night, joining a book club, taking up bowling, or chatting with a friend. As we age, it is important to meet new people, build new relationships, and enjoy the benefits of a wide-ranging social network.
ACQUIRE NEW SKILLS
Socially engaging activities are a great way for seniors to learn new skills and sharpen existing talents. It can be studying a new language, learning how to use an iPad, painting, picking up Tai Chi, or taking exercise classes. There is much out there to discover. Social activities can be energetic and active, or they can be quiet and calming. No matter the biological age, there is always an opportunity to learn something new. Seniors can achieve any goal they set their mind to. Learning new skills can build confidence and help them take control of their lives.
STIMULATE THE MIND
It’s important to keep busy at any age, but for seniors, it can make all the difference in the world to have something fun and stimulating to do with their time. All social activities, such as signing up for a cooking class, taking up gardening or playing cards with friends, provide some degree of mental stimulation. Each activity keeps the brain and body actively engaged. Not only are social activities enjoyable, but they also keep the minds of seniors sharp and healthy.
Seniors who do not make a conscious effort to stay socially active begin to withdraw from the world and suffer physical, mental, and emotional consequences due to a lack of social stimulation. Social activities help lend a sense of purpose, whether it’s simply the routine of having a schedule and a place to be or the sense of accomplishment that comes from reaching a goal. Social activities help seniors stay involved and active in the community.
IMPROVE HEALTH & WELL-BEING
According to a 2012 study by Statistics Canada, older individuals who engaged in regular social activities reported higher self-perception and lower levels of loneliness and life dissatisfaction. According to another study by the University of Rochester, older adults see health benefits including the reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and mental health issues such as depression when they are socially active.
Remaining socially active can inspire us to do more and benefit from the enhanced motivation. This can be due to all sorts of factors, including encouragement from fellow seniors and staff or success in learning a new skill or craft. With increased motivation, seniors will feel more inspired to experience new things and participate in more social activities, which will only further enhance their mental stimulation and self-confidence.
Seniors don’t want to feel old and nor do they have to. With active socialization and participation in various activities as opposed to sitting in front of the television, they’ll feel more energized and in control of their own decisions. For example, they can decide to participate in painting classes or gardening. The choice is up to them. Making one’s own decisions can have a positive influence. They’re able to maintain their integrity, self-assurance, and independence while interacting with other seniors who are also energized and active, making for a more wholesome and healthier life.
For more information about benefits of social activities as we age or if you have any questions about home health care, give us a call at Qualicare Family Homecare 613.366.2899.
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