As a person ages, their body begins to turn against them; they lose their strength and they are more susceptible to mental and physical illnesses. Lack of community and social circles has a link to negative effects on a person’s well-being and health. Having people around has a positive impact on the elderly and may improve their quality of life.
The Importance of Community
An expert from a facility that advocates independent living in Las Vegas cites that the process of separation from a person’s social circle begins when he or she loses their ability to drive. Once this happens, they lose some of their independence and limit their access to family members, friends, and activities. When a loved one gets cancer or other severe diseases, the spouse will stay at home longer to take care of their partner, leading to further social isolation.
Social isolation increases the likelihood of suffering a physical and mental illness since there is no one around to take care of an elderly person or they begin to lose cognitive skills because they don’t communicate with others, notes an expert from Legacy House of Centennial Hills. These break a person down inside and out, reducing their quality of life.
Self-awareness is one of the keys to an individual’s satisfaction and quality of life. Social activities are means to improve a person’s self-awareness. Things like journal writing, group talks, choirs, book clubs and others are some examples of gatherings that keep the elderly connected to others.
Keeping the Elderly Engaged and Connected
There are different ways to keep your loved one connected, here are some suggestions:
- Teach them a new skill or language; engaging their minds in certain tasks stimulates their brain and reduces the risk of developing mental illnesses.
- Allow them to participate and join social gatherings such as civic or church organizations. This enables them to build and sustain a support group.
- Let them join an exercise group or enroll in a gym. Exercising keeps them fit, active and connected to others.
Social isolation is a real problem for the elderly, prevent this from happening to your loved one by keeping them self-aware and connected to a support group, whether it is through a gym or organization.