It’s easy to make friends and continue social relationships early in life and into our middle years, but after retirement, after our children have moved out and our friends either move away or pass on, it becomes much harder. Many seniors have the additional hurdle of being physically unable to leave their homes to interact with others.
An article in Everyday Health discusses how important elderly friendships are for maintaining good mental and physical health and well-being; having friends can even extend your life. According to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine, of the 1600 seniors who participated in the study, those who felt lonely were almost 1.5 times more likely to die over the course of the next six years.
These are some of the reasons why you need to keep your elderly loved ones socializing.
Lonely study participants were less able to do simple things like dressing and showering, taking walks, and carrying ten-pound objects. Simple social interactions like meeting a friend or relative for lunch or taking a short walk together can help seniors avoid depression brought on by loneliness, which can cause pain, raise blood pressure, and lower immunity.
Memory loss and depression are two things that can result from social isolation; both of these things can be dramatically improved through socializing. In addition, researchers in the Netherlands discovered that a perception of loneliness, as opposed to actual social isolation, made study participants 1.6 times more likely to develop dementia. The article states that the quality of friendships is far more important than the quantity—having at least one good friend to talk to can encourage feelings of being understood and belonging.
Not liking to eat alone can sometimes lead to malnourishment when a lonely senior doesn’t bother preparing healthful meals for themselves. And, sometimes a person with restricted physical abilities won’t be able to go out to buy groceries regularly.
When it’s hard to get them out of the house or they can’t go out alone and you just don’t have the time to take them out, it might be time to hire a home health aide (HHA). The aide can escort them to senior centers or friend’s homes so they can socialize a bit. An HHA can safely take them for walks and to stores, or the HHA can prepare meals, making sure they get proper nutrition and eat regularly.
That’s where David York Agency comes into the picture. Our certified Home Health Aides can help relieve feelings of isolation and loneliness and encourage more social behaviors. Whether your loved one just needs part-time assistance with getting out of the house and running errands or he or she is in need of full-time aide, we can provide the personalized care they need.
For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate home caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.