Socializing & Aging

One of the challenges that comes with aging is reduced social interaction. Many of the peer group die – or are dealing with major and chronic health issues – resulting in a decreasing circle of friends. This ends up being potentially bad for the mental well being of seniors. It is an issue that must be addressed.

In 2010, Gary M. Skole wrote an article on this, published in Ezine Articles. Entitled, ‘Elderly in Home Care Doesn’t Mean a Lack of Socialization,’ the following matters were raised. First, seniors who leave the house and make an effort to meet friends during the cold/flu season are susceptible to fewer cold-like illnesses than those who don’t. Second, elderly with pets contract fewer illnesses than their pet-less counterparts. Third, self-centered individuals (those who use the words “I”, “mine”, and “me” more) are more susceptible to heart attacks than the ones who are not purely focused on themselves. And fourth, isolationism negatively impacts our natural immune system.

These ideas articulated by Skole are neither new nor unique, but they are still worth noting. In an article written four years later by Chase Patton, he found that:

“Having a variety of positive social supports can contribute to psychological and physical wellness of elderly individuals. Support from others can be important in reducing stress, increasing physical health and defeating psychological problems such as depression and anxiety.”

How is this social interaction best achieved? One method is actually senior homes. Patton concluded in his article that:

“Adult Day Care Centers and Senior Citizen Centers help to provide an elderly individual the opportunity to participate in social support activities. Social support activities found in these programs can be beneficial to a person’s quality of life and overall satisfaction. With a higher self-awareness and quality of life an individual can reduce the risks of mental and physical health problems as they age.”

Finally, it seems that a lot of seniors actually want to spend time with others. Statistics Canada reported that almost 25 percent of seniors would like to engage in more social activities.