Studies have indicated that socialization and building and maintaining meaningful relationships are keys to successful aging as these keep the mind active, spread positivity, give a sense of belonging and improve physical health.
Keep the Mind Active
With or without mobility issues and as long as one’s physical condition allows it, encourage your elderly parents to be surrounded by their peers. Engaging with friends on a regular basis keeps the mind active. Sunday morning chats with senior buddies are good. Even the most basic exchange of ideas and sharing of stories help them reminisce and think, and can stimulate brain function.
Social isolation and loneliness are considered to be challenging problems a person faces when growing older. These cause depression and if this condition continues, it may result in further health decline. When you encourage your parents to join social activities for seniors, including walking, exercising, gardening, arts and crafts or simply enjoying meals with friends, you give them the opportunity for social engagement. More importantly, this interaction can create positive feelings about life in general by reinforcing the idea that even though there are challenges with aging, some of the simple pleasures can continue to be enjoyed!
Sense of Belonging
It’s also very important to continue to make sure our elderly parents feel they are still needed. As we are approaching the holiday season, it is important to try to include them in celebrations, and even in celebration planning. Everyone has different abilities and limitations, but allowing grandma or grandpa to be as involved as possible, can provide a huge sense of contribution and worthiness, and lead to a happier and healthier holiday season.
Through having good conversations with friends and families and doing the things we love to do, our bodies release chemicals that help improve our immune system – and this can be very important as we grow older. The majority of socialization activities with seniors also involve mild physical activity, like walking in the park or doing simple exercises with peers and these promote the active lifestyle and health benefits.
As long as our elderly parents can manage to join socialization activities with seniors, let’s encourage them to do so… and hopefully more involvement with others and with family members will create positive feelings of belonging and usefulness that can only serve to make life better for everyone!