For seniors and caregivers alike, there are several factors that play a role in healthy aging. Many know some of the basics here: Proper diet, regular exercise, quality sleep and responsible medical care are all very important.
At Avamere at Mountain Ridge, we’re proud to offer each of these services and more as part of our assisted living programs. One additional area we help many of our residents with through our daily amenities and several specific programs: The building of strong social networks. Let’s go over why maintaining friendships is so valuable for people of senior age, some tips when it comes to friend influences on health, and a few tactics for caregivers looking to assist their loved ones in this area.
Why Senior Friendships Are Valuable
Not only are friendships and social interactions valuable for the mental and emotional side of aging, they can have direct impacts on physical health and well-being as well. This starts with general motivation and willingness to receive medical care – seniors who are engaged with others in their community will have a better chance of seeing firsthand the benefits of strong medical care, and will therefore be less likely to put off this sort of vital care.
On the flip side, older adults who are mostly isolated may be at higher risk for certain health concerns. They are likely to be more sedentary in their movements, for one, which can risk conditions like heart disease, obesity and depression. There are also real negative health effects associated with loneliness and isolation. This is why, within our senior living community, we do so much to promote regular activity and socializing between residents.
Friends and Health Influences
Now, it’s important for seniors expanding their social network to do so in positive ways. While no one is here to judge anyone else’s life choices, there are some who might not be such good influences – one good example is those who smoke cigarettes or heavily consume alcohol. These negative habits are associated with numerous health risks, from increased rates of cancer to high blood pressure and several heart-related issues. If possible, seniors should do their best to avoid social circles that promote this sort of behavior if they’re previously avoided it.
Caregiver Social Network Increase Tactics
Many seniors struggle with maintaining a strong social network as they age. This can be due to moving, retirement, the death of certain friends, or several other reasons. If you’re a caregiver who has seen your loved one’s social network decrease significantly, here are some avenues to explore in addition to our senior living services:
- Volunteer opportunities
- Senior groups at churches, synagogues, mosques or other religious centers
- Book clubs or similar meeting groups
- Continuing education classes
- YMCA or fitness programs tailored for older adults
For more on the importance of a strong social life for seniors, or to learn about any of our retirement community services, speak to the staff at Avamere at Mountain Ridge today.