Why Staying Socially Active as You Age Is Good for Your Health
Although loneliness may not seem like a significant issue, lack of social contact can have a seriously detrimental effect on the emotional and physical health of older adults, who are often most susceptible to isolation. It’s a fact of life that as people grow older, they will face an increased likelihood of losing close friends, relatives, and spouses. However, it’s not only death that may remove people from their life. Sometimes, a senior’s adult children have moved away, which can compound their isolation. In addition, older adults are usually no longer in the workforce, which cuts down on their opportunities for social interaction. They may also have health problems that can make it difficult for them to go out and take part in their community. However, meeting new people and finding new opportunities for social interaction isn’t as difficult as you think.
Social Contact Can Benefit a Senior’s Health. Studies have shown a strong connection between social interaction and the mental and physical well-being of seniors. For instance, research shows that consistent human contact can reduce stress as well as the risk of depression, which occurs in more than two million of the 34 million seniors in the USA, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. As well, social interaction can even decrease the risk of dementia, a common disorder in older adults. It may surprise you to learn that socialization can also have a significant effect on physical health. Studies have found that consistent socialization can lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, and reduce physical pain. As well, older adults, who as a group are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition, often eat more — and eat healthier — when they dine in the company of others.
Increasing Social Connections. Sometimes all a senior needs is gentle encouragement to be more socially engaged. With a little nudging, they will sign up for courses, attend a senior center, or volunteer. These are all excellent ways to meet more people. Brookdale Senior Living strongly encourages social interaction among seniors. In fact, it is one of Brookdale’s Optimum Life six dimensions of wellness.
Local Opportunity to Connect. Brookdale University Park recently hosted an “Eat Right for Life” Seminar, inviting guests to visit and get a “Taste” of Brookdale while hearing from their very own Registered Dietician in the Brookdale Healthcare Center, Trisha Lunsford, RD. Lunsford taught attendees about senior-specific nutrition needs. She also introduced several good food choices guests could make to meet their nutritional needs and be healthier for life. Each guest who attended left with a “Not-So-Secret Ingredients for Healthy Senior Nutrition” pamphlet and was encouraged to share with friends as well. To learn about future educational opportunities like this and to find out more about being a part of the Brookdale University Park community, call us today!
-Leanne Messer, Brookdale University Park
Call Leanne at 205-613-0688 to learn more and schedule a tour.
An Invitation to Experience Brookdale
Residents of Brookdale University Park enjoy an engaging lifestyle with a selection of care options to meet changing needs. The community conveniently located off Lakeshore Drive offers a full continuum of care, including independent living, assisted living, Alzheimer’s and dementia care and skilled nursing and rehabilitation. Call 205-870-0786 to connect with one of our team members who would be delighted to help you plan your personal visit, www.brookdale.com.