Most health experts emphasize the importance of good nutrition, exercise, balance, and flexibility training to protect the health of our older loved ones. However, optimum social wellness is equally important to an older adult’s well-being.
An active social life keeps the person moving, elevates their mood and demeanour, and improves cognitive health, which can decrease the risk of contracting Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. It also gives life more meaning by sharing special moments and celebrating important occasions with family and close friends.
Good social wellness brings the older person important life-enhancing health benefits as well.
The benefits of social wellness
As social creatures, we need to share experiences and activities with others to feel happy and fulfilled. However, creating meaningful connections through socialization also brings older adults significant additional benefits, such as:
Better mental health
Many older adults are at risk of becoming isolated, especially if they live alone, their family members live far away, or they have mobility issues. Being isolated from others can lead to feelings of loneliness, despair, and worthlessness. The person might also start suffering from depression. However, when we engage with others, we reaffirm our sense of self-worth, which helps us to maintain a positive outlook and healthy mental state.
As we age, things that we used to enjoy might become more challenging to do. It can cause embarrassment and frustration and negatively impact our self-esteem. Participating in social activities can help give that self-esteem a boost by giving us new chances to contribute in fun, creative ways. It also helps us realize that some of our most important traits – sharing, being kind, and spreading joy – don’t disappear as we grow older.
Increased sense of belonging
It’s important to feel we belong somewhere throughout our lives. However, older people can sometimes feel lost, especially after they retire, their children leave home, or when they lose a close friend or spouse. Keeping socially active will help the person make new connections, giving them a sense of belonging as they create meaningful, lasting new bonds.
A greater sense of purpose
Getting up in the morning with somewhere to go and fun and exciting things to look forward to helps give our lives purpose. The fulfillment we get from meeting new friends and enjoying activities with others helps us maintain a sunny demeanor and reminds us that many of our best days still lie ahead.
When older people become isolated, their self-care habits might slip. Regularly seeing other people socially will give them the incentive to prioritize their health and stay clean, groomed, and well-dressed.
Improve your loved one’s social wellness
As a family caregiver, you want your loved one to have every opportunity to experience the benefits that come with optimal social wellness. Here are four great ways you can help:
Suggest they join a class or group
There are many options for older people in Toronto to join a class to further their skills in a favourite hobby or try a new activity. Whether they’re interested in participating in an exercise, yoga, or walking group or want to pursue painting, photography, or other hobbies, taking advantage of opportunities to learn and grow will also help them make new connections with people with similar interests, forming immediate bonds.
Find them a volunteer position
Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to the community while supporting causes important to your older relatives. Look for opportunities at local hospitals, libraries, or other programs that interest them. It always feels great and elevates our self-worth when we help others.
Consider adopting them a pet, if appropriate
If your loved one is able to care for a small pet, adopting one could bring a source of love and comfort into their home. Also, pet ownership has been known to improve anxiety, blood pressure, and depression in their owners.
Help them keep in touch with friends and family
Although making new friends is critical to social wellness, strengthening existing relationships is also essential. If meeting family and friends in person is challenging, consider getting your loved one a tablet so they can stay connected through video meeting software such as Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom. Scheduling calls ahead of time will also give them something to look forward to on a regular basis, allowing more opportunities to have great days.
Aging doesn’t mean that one’s social life has to end. In fact, it offers renewed opportunities to be more active than ever – and enjoy the benefits of social wellness while doing so!
Quality in-home elder care services in Etobicoke, Mississauga, and Brampton
CareHop specializes in providing safe, quality eldercare services when you need a
helping hand. Our goal is to bring peace of mind to families while protecting
their loved one’s health and well-being.
When your loved one needs to get to a social activity, medical appointment, or other destination, our trained, professional caregivers can get them there and home again safely with our transportation and accompaniment services. Our caregivers are careful, fully licensed drivers operating clean, well-maintained vehicles to ensure safe, efficient transportation no matter where your loved one needs to go.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation discussion to discover how we can help you.