Dementia Care and Social Interaction, Part 2
In a previous blog post, we discussed the importance of social interaction for dementia patients in healthcare facilities. Today, we will go over the benefits of social interaction for those in the early stages of dementia and for family caregivers. Staying social is a fundamental component for physical and psychological wellbeing.
Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another degenerative neurological disease can often make you or a loved one feel isolated and lonely. The experience can be debilitating and disorienting, often leaving families, relationships, and life in disarray. However, one of the most crucial things to keep in tact during such stressful times are social relationships.
Whether it’s you or a close family member who has received the diagnosis, keeping in touch with family and friends can help keep up your spirits up and promote mental and emotional wellbeing. And, in fact, having strong social ties is linked to lower mortality rates. According to various studies, the risk for death for men and women with only a few social relationships was “more than twice as high” as those with the most social ties.1 Not only is socializing a beneficial thing to do in general, being part of groups can help promote healthy behaviors. For instance, being in a relationship, being part of a religious organization, or maintaining strong friendships can often help keep you accountable for your health and promote healthy living.2
Most of all, those with diagnoses of a degenerative neurological disorder need company through such a difficult experience. Knowing that a strong support group exists can help people build up and maintain their morale during treatment.3 One of the major goals of dementia care is to help improve a patient’s quality of life. More and more attention is being paid to this “person-centered” approach since emotional and psychological wellbeing are components of a “healthy” life, as well as being physically healthy. If you have a loved one with dementia, interacting with them while recognizing that they still have individual interests, needs, and desires can help improve difficult behaviors, especially in healthcare facilities.4
As for family caregivers, there have been significant studies that have linked socializing with dementia prevention. It is suggested that having a job in which you socialize with others and engage in complex thinking can help prevent cognitive deterioration. Jobs such as teaching, being a doctor, social worker, or lawyer “force” you to interact with others. Fortunately, this helps people reduce their risk for dementia in old age.5 However, if you do not have one of these jobs, do not get discouraged. There are plenty of opportunities for you to stay social, such as joining a book group, being part of a class at the gym, or pursuing a hobby with your local community members. The possibilities are potentially endless.
If you have questions about any community resources, then please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website!
- Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150158/
- Source: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/07/19/537907127/for-dementia-patients-engagement-can-improve-mood-and-quality-of-life