Evidence Points to the Benefits of Socialization for Older Adults
Isolation for older adults, according to some studies, is as deadly as smoking. Since socialization is a natural human activity that our brains crave to function well, socialization needs should be one of the items considered when choosing to age in place. Check out the results of many studies that support keeping socially active as a component to aging with good health.
Increased Social Activity Leads to Less Risk of Disability
A Rush University Medical Center study reported higher levels of social activity are associated with a decreased risk of becoming disabled. Results showed that a person who reported a high level of social activity was about twice as likely to remain free of a disability involving activities of daily living than a person with a low level of social activity, and about 1.5 times as likely to remain free of disability involving instrumental activities of daily living or mobility.
Be Social and Live Longer
- Researchers in Australia followed senior citizens for 10 years. In people 70 years old and older, the risk of dying decreased by 20 percent when people had a strong network of friends. Having social interactions with friends provided a greater effect than interactions with family members.
- University College London followed 6,500 British people over the age of 52 from 2004 to 2012. Those that lacked social interaction were 26 percent more likely to die during the period than those with active social lives.
Social Support Reduces Depression and Pain
The Journal of Pain published a study that showed social support reduces pain and depression. A similar study showing the connection between social support and physical symptoms was published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.
Remaining Socially Active Results in Fewer Memory Problems
- There are many studies showing that being socially active keeps the brain actively involved and reduces cognitive decline.
- The American Journal of Psychiatric Health published a study that showed social support helps protect against dementia.
- The Seattle Longitudinal studies and MacArthur study suggest social activity increases cognitive functions and wards off the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
- The Rush University Medical Center study found that very social seniors had a 70% reduction in their rate of cognitive decline when compared to their unsocial peers.
- In a study testing over 6,000 seniors across about 5½ years, seniors having frequent social engagement had a slower decline in intellectual and memory abilities. Good mental capacity was maintained best in those people who were the most socially active.
Heaven at Home Senior Care, Dallas senior care providers, can help. Let us coordinate and facilitate social engagement activities while providing the highest quality of care for older adults in the comfort of home. Besides personal care, our caregivers can provide transportation, play games, schedule visits with friends, and provide recommendations for simple ways to improve socialization for older adults.
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Sources: SeniorJournal.com, Rush University Medical Center, U.S. News and World Report, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Journal, The American Journal of Psychiatric Health, The Seattle Longitudinal Studies of adult intelligence, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences