Make Social Interaction a Priority for Aging Parents
When you go to work every day, you probably see familiar faces, say hello to your favourite co-workers and eat lunch with at least one or two regulars. You might talk about last night’s game, a new book you discovered or share tidbits of your life.
After retirement this familiar routine may not exist anymore. For some, this newfound freedom can be lonely. It’s too easy for older adults to stay at home and spend more time alone, especially as their mobility decreases.
Why social interaction is important as we age
Maintaining relationships and spending time with others is essential to an aging parent’s emotional and mental well-being. Social interaction for seniors is important as it can help prevent depression and keeps the mind active. The improvements are greater when the person is involved in fun interests and activities involving others.
How seniors can stay socially involved
People who have spent most of their adult lives in a scheduled routine benefit from a regular hobby. It may be a book club, a bowling team, or volunteering. Scheduled social pursuits give seniors something to look forward to on a regular basis.
Planning regular get-togethers with friends, such as a weekly lunch date with another senior or family members is also important. It’s beneficial to include both family and non-family members in the schedule.
Retirement centers and assisted living facilities often provide leisure interests and activities to facilitate socialization, even for those with limited mobility. They may have work shops, sing-alongs and other events that encourage seniors to get out and visit with others. Truly adventurous seniors can enjoy new experiences and meet friends by signing up for a tour designed especially for those over the age of 55.
Getting online as a social activity for seniors
Social media and email allow aging loved ones with limited mobility the opportunity to interact with others. It’s another way of spending time with family and friends and share photos and stories with those who can’t visit in person.
Most of today’s seniors are active online and comfortable with technology. If not, it’s never too late to learn. Community centers and senior programs often have classes to teach seniors about Internet safety and how to participate in the online community.
Spending time with others is essential to our overall well-being. As family caregivers, we play an important role in helping to facilitate more social interaction for our aging loved ones. By doing so, we can ensure they continue to enjoy the same events and friendships they once did.
Visit lifeline.ca for more tips and advice on fall prevention and healthy aging for you or your loved one.
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