From a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease to a stronger immune system, numerous studies show staying socially active in one’s golden years offers multiple health benefits. Helping your family member develop and maintain social connections is one of the best ways to ensure your loved one lives a long and fulfilling life. Here are a few of the main benefits of senior socialization.
Overall Health Benefits
Some of the scientifically proven benefits of social interaction include a reduced risk for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia and cardiovascular problems. Something as simple as a holding a loved one’s hand has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce pain. Conversely, researchers have found social isolation leads to high blood pressure, less physical activity and feelings of loneliness and depression.
One way to study the correlation between emotions and heart health is to measure the amount of activity of the vagus nerve, which helps regulate heart rate and is engaged by positive emotions. According to a 2013 study published in Psychological Science, social interaction improves vagal tone, or the nerve’s functionality. Researchers described the effect as an “upward spiral,” resulting in increasingly positive emotions, more frequent social interactions, and better heart health.
Maintaining strong social relationships can improve a senior’s odds of survival by as much as 50 percent, according to a Brigham Young University study published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS Medicine. The analysis of 148 previously published studies found that when it comes to risk factors for early death, low social interaction was equivalent to excessive drinking, smoking, lack of exercise or obesity.
Whether through engaging with others at a senior center or enjoying a chatty walk with a family member, social activity helps elderly loved ones live longer and better lives. You may also consider using a trusted Chandler home care agency to find a caregiver who can enhance socialization by providing one-on-one interaction with your loved one in a comfortable environment.
For more information on live-in or hourly care in Chandler, please call Home Care Assistance at (480) 448-6215. Our friendly and experienced Care Managers are available 24/7 to answer questions and discuss our flexible care plans that can be customized to meet the needs of your senior loved one.