See the Mental Health Benefits of Socializing for Seniors
In the US alone, almost 3 out of 10 seniors live on their own. Can you imagine the number of retirees all over the world living without anybody around to help them with household chores, expenses, and even personal care? A lot! Many of those seniors live lonely, depressed, and anxious about so many things, and this is only aggravating their condition, especially those who are suffering from serious illnesses.
You may have lived a fruitful life during your prime years. But keep in mind that even as you get older and retire, your need for love, care, company and support never stops. Sure, you may want to maintain your independence, but you should never isolate yourself. Get out there and socialize. You will soon realize how socialization can improve your mental health.
Let us take a look at the mental health benefits of socializing for seniors.
Did you know that socialization has a direct impact on our stress levels? If you mingle with other people, with other residents of a retirement community, for instance, your body will release a hormone that makes you feel better and increases your ability to cope with stressors. Whatever is stressing you out, reaching out to other people can temporarily distract you from your own circumstances.
As simple as talking to your neighbors or perhaps going out for lunch or dinner with other senior members of the community can reduce your stress levels. This also allows you to build a friendship with other individuals that you can rely on for emotional assistance when you need to.
Yes, depression is prevalent among seniors, and this can be due to several reasons. It could be due to the death of a spouse or a very close member of the family. It could also be because of abuse, conflict, financial problems, medications, or a health condition.
If you start socializing more, you can reduce the risk of depression. Instead of you dwelling on those things that are causing severe loneliness, your attention is diverted to those people around you instead. Your group can probably go on a trip or do a simple outdoor activity. Aside from this can make you physically active, it can also help you become mentally healthy.
In older adults, anxiety can be the result of stressful or traumatic events, a family history of anxiety disorders, psychiatric problems, as well as alcohol, caffeine, and medications. Several illnesses can be a risk factor, too. But if you have social support, you will be able to achieve hormonal balance. In fact, socializing more often can increase the levels of oxytocin in your body.
Oxytocin is the hormone whose main function is to decrease the anxiety levels of an individual. It also helps your parasympathetic nervous system to work better, especially when it comes to its calming down responses.
When you interact more with people, your self-confidence and self-esteem as well as your sense of worth will be elevated . You will be encouraged to dress nicely and take good care of yourself in general. And when this happens, you would feel better. You will be happier, too, not just because you look good but because you see people around that care about you.
With socialization, you will appreciate your abilities more. Your achievements and the good friendship or relationship that you have built with other people would make you really proud of yourself. This right here would significantly help improve your mental health.
When a senior is isolated, loneliness will creep in, and that would affect the individual’s mood. Sure, it is good to be alone sometimes, but not having friends or family to hang out with or share your thoughts with is something really depressing.
Participating in social activities and building social networks are like exercises for the brain. Aside from reducing stress, anxiety, and the risk of depression, socializing can also help you enhance cognition, keep your mind agile, and improve brain function in general.
With enhanced cognition, you will be able to think clearly, learn new things, and perform everyday activities as well as make important decisions.
Improved Memory Recall
It is fact that as we age, our memory declines. But this does not mean that there is nothing that you can do about it. According to studies, socialization is an effective way to improve memory recall.
Socializing is, indeed, very important even for seniors. Aside from its physical benefits, it also comes with a number of mental health benefits.