The Importance of Socialization for the Elderly

Socialization is a focal point for the spiritual, psychological, cognitive and physical health of all people of all ages. Often elders do not have enough opportunities for healthy social interactions with peers, younger adults and children. Although it is imperative that socialization is part of one’s life style on a regular basis, too often elders become isolated once they retire or as a consequence of the loss of a spouse, family member or friend.  Isolation can lead to depression, loneliness, increased memory loss and even the exacerbation of other health related conditions such as inefficient immunity, hypertension and anxiety.

Studies show that elders who have strong social networks live longer and healthier lives compared to those with little or no socialization. Strong social support appears to protect elders against cognitive decline and other disabilities or medical conditions.  Staying socially connected with family and friends helps to maintain our spiritual, psychological, cognitive and physical health. Coming together to share faith traditions can be spiritually fulfilling as well. Sharing the daily struggles and achievements in one’s life can be psychologically beneficial. Engaging in cognitively stimulating activities with others appears to impede cognitive decline caused by dementia related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.  Physical activity is an important factor for aging healthy. Exercising along with friends is not only fun but with the support and motivation of friends the likelihood for the desire to engage in physical activity increases exponentially.

Socialization also has an impact on nutrition. Social isolation in elders can lead to malnutrition. Elders who live alone may not cook a nutritious meal for one person or may skip meals. These decisions can lead to serious weight loss or to obesity. While still others, may not eat properly because they simply do not like eating alone. Quality time at the dinner table together while having a nutritious meal can be spiritually, psychologically, cognitively and physically beneficial.

Seniors who socialize with peers have better relationships with their spouse and children.  Building relationships is beneficial to our emotional, intellectual and physical health. Staying socially connected with our friends, family and peers has a positive impact on our relationships and is beneficial to one’s overall wellbeing.

Senior centers and adult day centers are just two great ways for elders to keep socially active and have a lot of fun.  The Clelian Adult Day Center helps people stay connected with the community, by exercising the body, soul and mind, and by building relationships and engaging in a healthy social environment. Our clients often comment that on days that they come to adult day care they are happier and fulfilled. You are never too old to make a new friend. 

For more information about Clelian Adult Day Center visit our website at www.cleliancenter.org or like us on Facebook to view our photo albums. Call us at (203)288-4151 to set up a tour.

Sister Cecelia Marie Scaduto

Director