When it comes to kids, we’ve all heard how important socialization is. There are certain things that kids learn through engaging with others, but that’s not the only reason why socialization is so important. There are health features that come along with being around other people, specifically mental health aspects. If someone grows while isolated from others, they tend to suffer from symptoms of depression and mental illness–which in turn then can have a negative impact on physical wellbeing.
The same is true for us as adults. As we get older and as we mature and grow professionally, it’s important to have people around us that we feel close to. It can help us to feel more of a sense of purpose in our lives and help us to return that feeling to others, too.
Socialization is important for other reasons, too. Some studies have shown that interacting with peers helps to slow cognitive decline, even when Alzheimer’s disease is present. It helps to keep minds sharp and gives a lot of people a more defined sense of purpose as they age. These things all lead to a higher quality of living. When people feel included, loved, and purposeful, the minor annoyances of life seem much more trivial. There’s a lot more good than bad going on, and it makes the senior years a lot easier to navigate.
Anecdotally, I’ve heard people in the care business comment that socialization can be just as effective as medication when it comes to senior health. Now, that needs to be taken with a grain of salt because it really depends on the reason why someone might be taking meds. If the medication is to help regulate diabetes or prevent blood clots, meds are incredibly important. The point is, when it comes to mental health, sometimes just being around people is the missing ingredient. Sometimes, rather than take an antidepressant, what’s really needed is engagement with other human beings.
The past year and a half of the pandemic has really underlined this–and not just for senior citizens. We’ve seen mental health crises skyrocket over this period of time. One New York State health care worker informed me that emergency room visits related to mental health needs have gone up by more than three times of what they were on a month over month basis when measured against pre-pandemic times. This is concerning to say the least. And although a lack of socialization isn’t the only reason why this is happening, it’s one of the main factors.
Everyone’s needs will differ a little bit when it comes to socialization, but everyone needs this in some form or another. That’s where in-home care might be of help to you. Rather than move a loved one into a nursing home or assisted living facility where they might not know anyone, your mom or dad can continue to keep the relationships that already exist for them.
And this is where a nursing home, senior living community, or an assisted living facility might be a big benefit. Rather than continue to live on their own, they can begin to form new friendships.
Again, everyone’s needs are a little different. But regardless of what your loved one’s situation might be, there is a care solution out there that can help them live a healthier, more socially active life.