Socializing and Alzheimer’s
In today’s blog, we will talk about the benefits on socializing and how family caregivers can both boost their social life, as well as help their aging loved ones socialize. Humans are a social species. We survive because we communicate, interact, and depend on others. Research studies have detailed the benefits of socializing to our health, and, as suspected, socializing may increase brain power, reduce dementia risk, increase life span, and improve one’s mental health. Thus, socializing is not just something we humans do for “fun,” although socializing should be fun. We do it because it is who we are and it is beneficial for life. This is true regardless of where we are in life and what our age is.
However, it is not always easy to prioritize one’s social life. Sometimes, people feel “too busy” to socialize, implying that there are more important matters to which they must attend. Other people may feel too tired to socialize. These are all valid excuses, and it can be very hard to make time for friends and family, especially if you are a family caregiver. Family caregivers are often swamped with obligations in their professional lives, their family lives, and their personal lives. The loved one’s they care for can also be at risk for not socializing as a result of any degenerative neurological disorder. Below we will go over some suggestions on how family caregivers can make time for their social life, as well as promote the social lives of the loved ones they care for.
Tips for Family Caregivers
- Contact friends consistently: As we get older, it becomes harder to stay in touch with friends. But, in today’s age with cell phones, text messaging, video conferencing, and social media, there is virtually no excuse why you can’t get in touch with someone. Reach out to friends, and try to set up phone conversations or personal meetings with them every week. This may sound strange or unrealistic to some people, but it is really not that unusual. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend!
- Pursue a hobby: Pursuing a hobby with others can be a great way to connect to them. You can join a club or organization whose purpose is to help others pursue their common hobby. Ideally, this club/organization should be small enough or provide enough opportunity to socialize. For instance, going to a book club is a great way to meet friends because the environment is intimate and you are expected to talk with them. On the contrary, getting a subscription to a gym is probably not the best way to socialize since working out can be individualized and there are often many people at the gym trying to get their workout done (But that does not mean you shouldn’t exercise!).
- Volunteer: Find a cause or organization that you believe in, and set aside just a small amount of time to volunteer at that club. Volunteer work can be a great way to meet new people and build connections.
Tips for Family Caregivers Helping their Loved Ones
- Plan visitations for other friends/family: One of the worst aspects of aging and developing a degenerative neurological disorder is being isolated from others. But, this does not need to happen. As a family caregiver, you can encourage other family members, as well as your loved one’s friends to come and visit them. This will take a little work on your part, but the benefits of planned visiting times is profound.
- Rely on Technology: Technology can help your loved one talk to friends and family if they live far away or if they cannot easily get to your loved one. Technologies like smartphones and personal computers come with video conferencing capabilities that allow you to see and hear your friends and family on screen in real time. This makes socializing a whole lot easier.
- Local Resources: Places like the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center host workshops for your aging loved ones, like painting workshops, where they can socialize and do mentally stimulating activities. Local resources in your area can make a huge impact in the quality of life of your loved one. Do not forget to utilize these resources to the best of your ability.
If you have any more questions, do not hesitate to reach out to ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or by visiting our website!
 Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-mild-cognitive-impairment/201606/the-health-benefits-socializing