There is a vast body of scientific evidence that demonstrates the health benefits of a healthy social life. One of the foremost authorities on this subject is a scholarly article “A Review of Social Isolation” written by Nicholas R. Nicholson and published in The Journal of Primary Prevention. The article is a detailed study on the detrimental effects of isolation in senior citizens. The study found that, among other things, isolation leads to increased risk of death from a number of causes, dementia, increased susceptibility to re-hospitalization and falls.
Clearly, senior citizens need to get social to improve the quality of their lives and care givers need to do everything possible to increase social interaction. Loneliness and isolation are common among senior citizens but it doesn’t have to be hard socializing as a senior. As a matter of fact, it is now easier than ever in the world of social media. The following are a few creative ways that a care giver can get senior citizens socialize.
Groupon and other discount deals websites usually list discounts to social activities. These may range from yoga for seniors to knitting classes. As a care giver, consider discount deals to pay for activities that may otherwise be beyond reach due to financial constraints. Discount deals are also a great way to test service quality before you commit yourself fully.
Websites like Meet Up allow people, including seniors, to connect with other like-minded people. If your senior loves hiking or fishing, you can hook them up with a senior hiking or fishing group; they can get together and have some fun. This is actually an excellent idea for senior couples wanting to expand their social circles.
Online Dating Sites
Who said senior citizens don’t want to date? This is a misconception by many young care givers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Like everyone else, senior citizens yearn and actively seek romantic relationships. Help out a senior citizen under your care to find a good match by helping them set up accounts at online dating sites. Some good sites include Match, OKCupid and eHarmony. Help them learn the ropes if they aren’t Internet savvy and ensure they don’t fall victim to cyber criminals. Dates should always be in public places and the caregiver, friends and family should always be informed.
Believe it or not, the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is senior citizens. Facebook has given them a way to connect with long lost friends, interact with children working far away from home or abroad and even see pictures of their grandchildren. Actually, Facebook and other social media also offer a creative outlet where senior citizens can share jokes, learn new things, start a business and much more. Encourage senior citizens to embrace social media and help them set up accounts. Once they get hooked you will also notice than their mental acuity improves and then tend to become livelier even when not browsing. The only caveat is to ensure they don’t harm their eye sight with low resolution displays and that they browse safely.