As your parent ages, it can be more difficult for them to get out to socialize. They may struggle with limited mobility or may not drive. Their friends may have already passed, and their family may live far away or be too busy to visit often. In such a situation, social isolation often occurs.
Unfortunately, social isolation in the senior population can lead to a poor quality of life, health risks, mental health issues, and more. That’s why it’s so important for older adults to stay active and socialize as much as they can, which may not be possible if they live at home alone.
A nursing home is an excellent place for older adults to not only get the care and attention they need but to also get them involved on a social level. They’ll make friends and take part in a variety of activities they’re interested in. Here’s how your parent can benefit from living in a nursing home.
1. Reduced Risk of Depression
Unfortunately, depression is common among the senior population. When older adults are isolated from the community, friends, and family, they become lonely. This feeling may eventually turn into despair and depression. At a nursing home, older adults get to take part in fun and rewarding activities, which can help them keep a positive outlook on life and keep depression at bay.
2. Improved Physical Health
Poor emotional wellbeing is linked to poorer physical health. When seniors are isolated, it can make them feel physical unwell. Being socially active, on the other hand, can boost the immune system, reduce high blood pressure, and more. It often also leads to a better diet and a more active lifestyle, which, of course, is good for the mind and body alike.
3. A Greater Sense of Belonging
No one wants to feel like they’re all alone in the world, but that has been known to happen to older adults. They’re friends pass on, their families move away, and they have trouble getting out in the community. Feeling like you belong somewhere is important. At a nursing home, your parent will get to create bonds with other residents who have similar interests and personalities, helping them build a lasting group of friends.
4. Improved Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is a fragile concept. When your parent has trouble doing the things they used to love to do, such as driving, gardening, or playing sports, they may start to lose their self-esteem, leading to feelings of worthlessness. As seniors participate in activities and make friends, they start to feel more confident in themselves and their abilities. These positive interactions can go a long way to boosting self-esteem.
5. Better Cognitive Function
Research shows socialization is key to exercising the mind and keeping it sharp. Having conversations, taking part in new activities, and being an active participant in the community helps seniors continue to learn, which may lower the chance of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
6. Promotes Accountability
A senior is more likely to develop bad habits that lead to a poorer quality of life if they are socially isolated. They may not change their clothes often, they may skip meals, and they may not bathe regularly, for example. They may not see the point in these activities if they’re all alone. They’re more accountable to their health if they have a reason to stay well—such as getting ready to go out for lunch with friends. This helps improve their state of mind and curb bad habits.
7. Finding a Purpose
Staying social is important to building a purposeful life. Seniors who have things to do, people to see, and responsibilities in the community are more likely to get excited to wake up and face the day, every day. They’ll gain a sense of fulfillment, helping them remember that life is worthwhile.