Social interaction is so important for aging seniors, especially for those still living at home as they may be less likely to be regularly introduced to new people and encouraged to participate in group activities with people their age.
Studies have even shown that when seniors interact with a wide range of people, even strangers, it offers great benefits such as a lower risk for depression and a longer life span. They also show that seniors who interact with people outside of their usual circle of family and friends were more likely to be more physically active, exhibit fewer negative feelings, and have a more positive mood.
Scientists suggest that when seniors spend less time with their close family and friends, they are more likely to be sedentary, opting to watch television or lounge in the comfort of their own home instead of being active.
No one wants to see their senior parent or loved one isolate themselves, so here are a few ways that you can encourage your senior to take a break from being in their home and get out and about with seniors their age:
Move the TV
If your senior can watch television from the comfort of their own bed or favorite chair or recliner, consider moving it to a location where they would have to get up to view it. Once they are up, this may motivate or encourage them to move around a bit more, which could be the first step to getting them active and out of the house to socialize.
Sign Them up
Find a local class that has a group for seniors that your loved one might be interested in, and sign them up. You can find information at your local library or online about classes for things such as reading, knitting, crafting, art, and cards. Sometimes signing up is the hardest part, so sign them up and tell them they are going.
Enlist a Friend
If your senior has trouble doing things alone or tends to show signs of social anxiety, see about getting a friend or neighbor to go with them to an exercise class or other senior event that they would enjoy. Start slow and let them sit at the back of the class or group and let them get used to the activity for a bit, you might be surprised that they come out of their shell eventually and even begin to enjoy their time away with new friends their own age. This may be a good time to consider a home care services provider to take them to their events and for the companionship they provide.