The famous saying — “Out of sight, out of mind” — is unfortunately common for the children, grandchildren and loved ones of seniors. Few individuals truly realize how much damage their absence does to a senior’s well-being.
Social connection for seniors has a profound benefit on their emotional and physical health. It is crucial for every senior to have a strong social network, whether with people their own age or loved ones who play an active role in their lives.
Groups, hobbies, and friends help build these connections, which have benefits that cannot be ignored.
Some of the most important benefits from social connection include:
- Prevention of disease
- Fewer health problems
- Longer life
- Improved brain function
- Higher self-esteem
- And a continued purpose—a reason to move forward
For more than fifty years, researchers have explored the importance of community for seniors. One study in Alameda County found that people with a strong sense of belonging and community showed lower rates of disease and death. In this way, having a social connection can literally save lives.
Why? One theory suggests that having a social connection provides a sense of purpose that gives seniors a reason to stay healthy and happy. However, there could be other reasons.
SENSE OF BELONGING
Social connections improve more than physical health they improve mental and emotional health. People with a sense of belonging are more confident with their status in the world. They have less alone time to question their belief systems, their thoughts, and their purposes.
Instead, they spend their time chatting with friends and playing a role in the lives of others. This makes for a far less self-focused existence, which is ultimately much healthier.
DECREASED RISK OF ABUSE
The many forms of elder abuse include:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- And financial exploitation
Perpetrators of such abuse can include:
- Employees in nursing homes
- And sometimes loved ones
Abuse at the hands of these important individuals often leads to serious feelings of betrayal.
However, when seniors have strong connections to their friends, they are less susceptible to this abuse. Abusers are also less likely to target someone who has a strong network of people prepared to look out for them.
Even though maintaining social connections sounds fantastic, it is far from easy. Seniors face many challenges when it comes to having a strong network, including fewer friends as seniors pass away or move away. There are also physical limitations. Health problems make traveling difficult.
Relocating a senior to a nursing home may make it hard to maintain old friendships. The busier family members and loved ones get, the less they visit. There are ways to overcome these challenges, and many of them start with loved ones taking a step forward.
CONTACT EXPERIENCED PHOENIX ELDER CARE ATTORNEYS FOR ASSISTANCE
Few things are more important for the emotional health of a senior than maintaining social connections. Our Phoenix elder care attorneys at Miller Kory Rowe LLP can help ensure they get it. Contact our experienced team for assistance and representation at (602) 648-4045.