Posts Tagged ‘social seniors’

The Scientific Importance of Social Activities for Seniors

May 14th, 2017

The Scientific Importance of Social Activities for SeniorsIt seems intuitive to some people that interacting socially with others elevates wellbeing by maintaining connections to other people’s experiences, beliefs, problems, humor, opinions, and a host of other human happenings. Now, scientific studies are displaying the benefits of social activities for seniors that could boost the wellness of the brain and the body.

The results point clearly to the benefits of friendship and social interaction for the elderly. A study executed by Rush University Medical Center demonstrated that a person who was documented to have a high level of social activity was about twice as likely to remain free of an impairment with activities of daily living than somebody with a reduced level of social engagement, and about 1.5 times as likely to remain free of disability involving instrumental activities of daily living or mobility. Extremely social older persons had a 70% decrease in their level of cognitive decline when compared to their less social peers.

And yet, being social is not second nature to everybody, and for a number of people, it turns out to be harder with age because one’s ability to get around may become greatly diminished. Here are a few ways a home care agency such as Visiting Angels can help the elderly continue to be social and protect their wellbeing:

  • Promote attendance at and provide accompaniment to social outings like club meetings, community events such as fairs, holiday activities and parades, plays, concerts, and sports events, religious services and church activities.
  • Share in playing interactive games with seniors such as board games, cards and Nintendo Wii.
  • Arrange for visits with friends and neighbors.
  • Offer transportation to an adult day facility or a low impact exercise class.
  • Provide companionship during family celebrations or vacations for optimum comfort and safety.
  • Help older adults navigate social media sites like Skype and Facebook to enable them to connect with family and friends even when they are unable to leave the home.

In the Social Activity and Wellbeing of Older Australians Study, testing more than 6,000 older adults across about 5 1/2 years, seniors having frequent social engagement had a reduced decrease in intellectual and memory performance. Better mental capacity was maintained best in those people who were the most socially engaged.

Having a professional home care agency provide assistance to encourage and help with keeping a senior socially connected might be one of the most essential means to help him/her continue to thrive and feel alive. Visiting Angels’ in home care San Jose staff are all committed to supporting the independence, dignity, and social connectedness of every person we serve. To view our full service area in California, click here.

How Socialization Can Actually Improve Memory

July 27th, 2015

socialization and memoryAs we discussed in our last blog, staying social helps improve our physical health in a variety of ways. As if that wasn’t incentive enough to avoid isolation, socialization also benefits us cognitively. Just a few of the many studies outlining positive results include:

  • The American Journal of Psychiatric Health published a study that showed social support helps protect against dementia.
  • The Seattle Longitudinal studies and MacArthur study suggest social activity increases cognitive functions and wards off the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
  • The Rush University Medical Center study found that very social seniors had a 70% reduction in their rate of cognitive decline when compared to their unsocial peers.
  • In a study testing over 6,000 seniors across about 5 1/2 years, seniors having frequent social engagement had a slower decline in intellectual and memory abilities. Good mental capacity was maintained best in those people who were the most socially active.

So how can you make sure your loved one stays social as he or she ages?

  • Find volunteer opportunities for him or her in the community.
  • Get the senior involved with a local senior center.
  • Join a group focused on activities you enjoy, such as playing cards or a book club.
  • Taking a cooking, pottery, or language class is a great way to interact and make new friends.
  • Joining a gym or fitness center can help the senior stay both physically and socially active.

If your senior loved one is homebound and unable to engage in opportunities such as these, never fear: Visiting Angels will bring social interactions right into his or her home. Our friendly, supportive caregiving team can help your loved one overcome feelings of isolation by spending time together with companionable visits, card and board games, watching movies together, reminiscing, and much more. With in-home care services throughout Santa Clara and Alameda Counties, we’re here for you and your senior loved ones whenever you need us. Call us any time at 408-735-0977 in Sunnyvale, or 510-284-0000 in Fremont.

Startling Link Between Socialization and Health

July 20th, 2015

social healthThere’s nothing like the warm feeling of spending time with a close friend or family member, and there’s no question that a friendly visit with a loved one can boost your mood and morale. But surprisingly, socialization – or lack of it – can also impact our physical health.

Staying Social Reduces Risk of Disability

A Rush University Medical Center study reported higher levels of social activity are associated with a decreased risk of becoming disabled. Results showed that a person who reported a high level of social activity was about twice as likely to remain free of a disability involving activities of daily living than a person with a low level of social activity, and about 1.5 times as likely to remain free of disability involving instrumental activities of daily living or mobility.

Marked Reduction in Depression and Pain for Those with Greater Social Support

The Journal of Pain published a study that showed social support reduces pain and depression. A similar study showing the connection between social support and physical symptoms was published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

Be Social and Live Longer

Being socially active can contribute to an increase in the quality and length of life.
Researchers in Australia followed senior citizens for 10 years. In people 70 years old and older, the risk of dying decreased by 20 percent when people had a strong network of friends. Having social interactions with friends provided a greater effect than interactions with family members.
University College London followed 6,500 British people over the age of 52 from 2004 to 2012.Those that lacked social interaction were 26 percent more likely to die during the period than those with active social lives.

Staying social as we age can be a challenge, but a professional home care agency, like Visiting Angels, can provide an easy solution to the debilitating effects of isolation. Our services are available on an hourly basis or through live-in, around-the-clock care and companionship. Contact us at 408-735-0977 in Sunnyvale or 510-284-0000 in Fremont to get started!

4 Ways Social Media Benefits Seniors

July 13th, 2015

social seniorsThe world has certainly gotten smaller since the advent of the Internet, and it’s easier than ever before to stay connected with friends and family at a distance. For seniors who may be homebound or experiencing periods of isolation, tapping into online resources like Facebook, Twitter, and Skype can provide a breath of new life and social engagement, and have a huge impact on their sense of belonging and purpose. Here are just a few ways social media is changing the lives of seniors:

  1. Helps Keep Families Closer: Many older adults wish they heard more often from their loved ones. Facebook is a great way to keep up with family and friends on a more frequent basis. It also helps to deepen relationships by stimulating more frequent conversations between the generations. Skype is a great tool for older adults, allowing online video conversations with loved ones near or far.
  2. Improved Feelings of Wellbeing: Older adults who live mostly isolated lives and far away from loved ones often experience depression. A study by Dr. Shelia Cotten, a sociologist and associate professor from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, revealed that Internet use was associated with a 30 percent decrease in depressive symptoms among older adults who used it regularly, while other studies have shown similarly impressive results.
  3. Social Photo and Video Sharing: Sharing memories is now easier than ever through social media. Pictures can be shared via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and other social media sites. Grandparents can see photos of the grandchildren moments after they are taken, helping them to feel more a part of events they may not be able to attend.
  4. Community Belonging: Socializing as part of a community can be critical for homebound older adults. Social media provides the opportunity to have and be a friend, to congregate without leaving the house, and to never have to feel alone.

While social media is a wonderful tool to help your senior loved ones stay socially connected, there’s still no replacement for face-to-face interactions and relationships. Visiting Angels helps fill in the social gaps for seniors by providing warm companionship along with a full range of San Francisco area home care services, individualized to meet each person’s unique needs. Complete our simple online contact form to let us know how we can help you.

Protect Seniors from Isolation Through In-Home Care

July 6th, 2015

Carer With Senior Woman In WheelchairEveryone needs a little time to get away from it all, to be alone with our thoughts or to settle in with a good book. But when that alone time becomes excessive, we become at risk for social isolation – an all too common occurrence as we age. And its effects are more detrimental than you may realize, with the potential to impact both physical and mental health in a variety of ways.

Studies have shown that socializing:

  • Reduces risk of disability
  • Reduces depression and pain
  • Protects the brain from mental decline
  • Increases the quality and length of life

In-home caregivers, such as those at Visiting Angels, can help the older adults in your life stay social and protect their health by:

  • Encouraging attendance and serving as a personal escort to social outings such as club meetings, community events such as fairs, holiday celebrations and parades, plays, concerts, and sporting events, religious services and church activities
  • Playing interactive games with them such as board games, cards and Nintendo Wii
  • Planning and scheduling visits with friends and neighbors
  • Providing transportation to an adult day facility or a low impact exercise class
  • Providing companionship during family celebrations or vacations for maximum comfort and safety

Help your senior loved ones enhance their social engagement and improve their health by enlisting the caring services of Visiting Angels. Whether your needs are long-term and ongoing, or if you need a temporary “Angel Call” (just a few hours of care or help with transportation), your loved one will be carefully matched with a compassionate, fully trained and experienced caregiver. Learn more about our in-home care services in California by calling 408-735-0977 in Sunnyvale, or 510-284-0000 in Fremont.