Everyone needs human interaction.
As people age, it can be difficult to maintain relationships and keep up with a social life.
Staying social for seniors is especially important for maintaining good physical health and warding off depression.
Although it can be challenging to prioritize the importance of social health as people age, it isn’t impossible.
By incorporating social activities for seniors into your life, you can maintain healthy relationships and build new ones.
The Importance of Social Health for Seniors (and Everyone)
Young adults are increasingly educating themselves on the symptoms and risk factors of depression. Younger generations have a good understanding of identifying mood disorders and how to seek treatment.
Unfortunately, older adults may not understand that what they’re experiencing is actually depression. In fact, senior depression is far more prevalent than most people probably believe.
Roughly six million adults over the age of 65 suffer from clinical depression but less than 10% seek treatment. This could be due to several factors such as social stigma, inaccessibility to treatment, or simply not understanding symptoms.
Medication is always a viable option, but social activity can go a long way when it comes to fending off depression and mood disorders.
Believe it or not, lack of social life can actually increase the body’s inflammatory response and exasperate symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.
As you can see, staying social for seniors is especially important for supporting both physical and mental wellbeing.
Factors That Can Hinder – or Eliminate – Staying Social for Seniors
Maintaining a social life is difficult at any age. For seniors, it’s not any easier.
Younger adults have busy lives filled with work, phones, and family. Although they may think they don’t have much time for social activities, these adults usually still get to socialize a little bit with their families and coworkers.
Seniors? Not so much.
As people age, they face different challenges for staying social. These factors all work in unison to hinder – or even eliminate – older adults’ social activity:
- Retirement means no chitchatting with colleagues daily.
- Friends may pass away or move.
- Older adults may lose their ability to drive making it more difficult to participate in social activities.
- A fixed income means less money to spend on entertainment and recreational activities.
- Younger family members are often busy maintaining their own lives and career.
- Chronic medical conditions and disabilities can make it hard or impossible to leave the home.
- A lack of age-appropriate activities to participate in.
- Fear of rejection, exploitation, or losing part of their perceived identity when participating in social activities.
When several of these factors are present, older adults can face excessive loneliness and feel like there is no way to break the vicious cycle.
Fun Social Activities for Seniors
If you or a loved one are apprehensive or fearful of participating in social activities for whatever reason, you should at least consider trying to overcome your fears.
In most cases, the benefits far outweigh the risks. The importance of social health and social activities for seniors cannot be understated.
If you or your loved one are still reluctant, ease in gradually. Try low-key senior activities and bring a supportive friend along.
It will be challenging and uncomfortable at first, but over time, you could grow to love it. And even if you don’t, you can talk about that, too.
Here are some interesting senior activities to spark your imagination.
- Seasonal arts and craft activities.
- Chair yoga, tai chi, and meditation sessions.
- Cycling and swimming classes.
- Plan an afternoon trip to the casino or movies.
- Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or other support groups.
- Chess, poker, or game clubs.
- Visit a local animal shelter.
- Faith or book study groups.
- Volunteering for local charities.
- Political discussion groups and activism.
- Hobby-centric clubs for gardening, collecting, or skilled craftwork.
Tips for Seniors with Disabilities or Chronic Medical Conditions
In many cases, older adults may not be able to leave their home or health care facility.
Don’t give up – they need social interaction even more due to their chronic isolation. These individuals may suffer from increased mood disorders, depression, and anxiousness. Lack of social interaction could even make their physical symptoms worse.
Even if someone isn’t disabled, leaving the home can pose a challenge if they lack a vehicle or transportation.
With these senior activities, you can bring the socializing to them. Before scrolling the list, find a group of supportive friends and family members to participate in the activities. Call old friends and reach out to loved ones.
- Have a spa day: hire an on-location stylist, massage therapist, or nail tech.
- Learn a language together. Start with just a few words each session.
- Challenge each other to riddles, games, and puzzles.
- Set up a movie night at home: dim the lights and make popcorn.
- Plan a meal to cook together.
- At-home group exercise or yoga.
- Learn a new hobby or skilled craft together like knitting or wood carving.
You’ll need to develop senior activities based on your loved one’s ability and needs. Make sure to create environments they can actively participate in as much as possible.
Senior Activities at Reno Valley Assisted Living and Retirement Center
Reno Valley is an assisted living and retirement community that puts resident well-being first and foremost. We strive to provide the best quality of life possible and make living independently a reality.
We also understand the importance of social health. That’s why we offer a wide variety of social activities for seniors ranging from fun to therapeutic. From chair yoga, to trivia night, there’s no shortage of interesting senior activities to spark imagination and conversation.
If you or a loved one are considering assisted living or looking for a retirement center, contact Reno Valley today to learn about our services or tour around our community.