Many of us can say that spending time with a friend is an enjoyment. But is socializing just a pleasant way to pass a few hours?
Research shows that social interaction plays a vital health role throughout the course of our lives, no matter what a person’s age or circumstance. Gerontologists tell us that maintaining human relationships promotes healthy ageing in many ways you may not have considered:
- Fortifies the immune system
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves cardiac health
- Promotes mental health and memory
- Encourages physical fitness
- Decreases depression
- Improves sleep
- Motivates good nutrition
- Reduces the perception of pain.
Much important work on this subject has been done by Dr. John Cacioppo of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. Cacioppo and his associates have found that loneliness affects senior health even on the cellular level. People experiencing loneliness also have higher levels of stress hormones. According to Health Canada, “Being lonely is hard on a person’s health.”
Unfortunately, seniors are in a much more prone position to experience loneliness. Retirement, mobility problems, health challenges, etc., all remove familiar occasions for socializing.
When elders are living with health problems, family caregivers do what they can to prevent their loved one from being alone too much of the time. But many are dealing with busy lives already, full of responsibilities for work and other family duties. Home care can be a great way to decrease loneliness and increase social opportunities for senior loved ones! A trained, professional in-home.