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5 Benefits of Social Activities for Senior Citizens

group of senior citizens sitting around a table discussing the 5 benefits of social activities for senior citizens

One of the many ingredients which come together to create a happy life is social interaction and social engagement. As humans, we are naturally social creatures. This means that, more often than not, we prefer the company of others over isolation. Social interaction has an interesting effect on the body. When lacking in socialization, it’s easy to feel lonely or forgotten, which can quickly lead to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. When social interaction is present, the mind is consistently stimulated and challenged and more likely to maintain a high confidence level and self-esteem. 

Social interaction also plays a large part in how individuals create their self-image. Socializing is essential for all ages. However, social interaction can prove especially helpful to adults of advanced age. As the body ages, it becomes more susceptible to injury, accidents, and the development of a mental illness. Group outings are a great way to keep the mind sharp and spirits lifted, but some forms of interaction are more beneficial than others. Before committing to a senior living program, review their curriculum for social engagement, and look out for a few activities in particular before making a decision. 

The Importance of Social Activities for the Elderly

Isolation can negatively affect all aspects of an individual’s life. Not only does it have the potential to lead to physical deterioration, but it can also cause cognitive decline as well. Physically, decreased socialization leads to reduced movement, which can cause mobility and muscle issues. Psychologically, a lack of social interaction means a lack of interaction with the outside world, which can lead to rapid cognitive decline and the development of a mental health condition. Seniors with limited social interaction are more likely to experience the following health conditions:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Cardiac Failure
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Hypertension
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Memory loss

Isolation can also lead to antisocial and unhealthy behaviors. This is partly because, while alone, there is no one around to voice concerns or criticisms regarding the nature of someone’s behavior. This can be especially harmful to seniors with pre-existing conditions, as unhealthy behavior can lead to devastating consequences. 

5 Social Benefits of Physical Activities

When considering the benefits of social activity for older adults, it is essential to understand the participant’s limitations and the type of social engagement senior desires. 

1. Increased Physical Activity

It might seem obvious, but the importance of physical activity in seniors cannot be overstated. The social benefit of physical activity can be seen in increased muscle strength, stamina, and improved hand-eye coordination. This activity also benefits seniors’ overall health and emotional well-being due to the endorphins derived from exercise, which have been shown to increase happiness and limit the influence of mental health conditions such as depression.

2. Improved Memory

Physical activity and social interaction can make a world of difference for those with memory issues. Physical and social activity stimulates the brain by presenting challenges and utilizing individual problem-solving skills to achieve a common goal. 

3. Improved Mood

Mood is directly correlated with emotional well-being and quality of life. It’s not hard to imagine how isolation might negatively affect mood. When someone feels no one cares about them, it can be hard to find the motivation to care for themselves. Social interaction and physical activity are known sources from which pleasure and happiness can be derived, making them excellent tools for improving physical and mental health in seniors.

4. Limit the Risk of Isolation

As previously stated, isolation can lead to antisocial behavior, which in and of itself can cause a whole host of other issues. Engaging in regularly scheduled activities is a fantastic way to promote a social lifestyle and limit the risk of isolation.

5. Improved Cognition 

As the mind ages, it can start to slow down, making the action processing of new information difficult and cumbersome. Just as social interaction can improve memory through brain exercises, this action can also improve cognition and strengthen seniors’ processing skills, making interaction with the outside world easier and more enjoyable. 

The risk of social isolation is very real in the senior community. That’s why encouraging older loved ones to seize social opportunities is vital. The benefits of social activities far outway the potential consequences of social isolation. When considering senior living facilities, check the social atmosphere and activities offered by staff to ensure that social-emotional welfare is guaranteed. 

Visit the Vibrant Social Community at Buckner Westminster Place

We hold our residents’ social and emotional well-being in the highest regard at Buckner Westminster Place. We believe in going above and beyond when crafting social and physical activities for our residents and always accept feedback and suggestions. For more information on the benefits of social activities for seniors, schedule a tour of our facility today, or reach out for more details at 903.329.6520 or online.