Social Activity May Lead To Better Quality of Life for Elderly

September 4, 2012 § 1 Comment

Last week we highlighted a few studies that were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.  The report from Oregon Health & Science University tracked patients with mild cognitive impairment (a risk factor for Alzheimer’s) over three years.  They tracked their activities outside of the home.   Researchers found the more time the participants spent at home translated to less outside stimulation, and ultimately, more isolation and depression.

Previously there have been several studies that have shown a lack of social support is related to negative impacts on health and well being, especially for older people.  Having a variety of positive social supports can contribute to psychological and physical wellness of elderly individuals.  Support from others can be important in reducing stress, increasing physical health and defeating psychological problems such as depression and anxiety.

Many times it is up to a family caregiver to maintain their elderly family member’s social activities.  Sometimes that is not possible, so identifying other resources is necessary. These may include senior centers, assisted living facilities, meal delivery, religious affiliations or adult day care.  These services can provide positive social supports to help older persons defeat loneliness and isolation.  However, social support must encompass more then physical presence or conversation.  Studies have shown that social support services should contain quality activities that promote positive self-awareness.

Self-awareness is key to a person’s overall quality of life and satisfaction.  Many leisure social activities can be used to help increase an individual’s self-awareness such as reminiscence groups, journal writing, readings of favorite book passages, group exercise, singing groups, etc.  Individuals may also feel more self-satisfied if they are part of the planning of social activities that take place.

Two types of community-based service centers that provide quality social support services for elderly individuals are senior centers and adult day care programs.  Senior centers offer a variety of programming that may include health programs (including Zumba and Yoga), arts/humanities activities, intergenerational programs, employment assistance, community action opportunities, transportation services, volunteer opportunities, education opportunities, financial assistance, senior rights counseling/legal services, travel programs and meal programs.

Adult day care provides social support and health services to an older adult during the daytime. Most programs operate weekdays during daytime hours.  Social support services at an adult day care can consist of musical entertainment and singing groups, group games such as cards, gentle exercise, discussion groups (books, films, current events), holiday/birthday celebrations and local outings.  Not only are these social activities provided, but participants of the program can also develop lasting relationships with staff and other participants.  Adult day care centers also provide meals and health services.

If you need help locating a reputable community program for a senior in your life, please give us a call.  The Law Office of Dawn M. Weekly, PC is located in Sandwich, Illinois and focuses on elder law and Life Care Planning for clients.  The office may be reached by calling 815-570-2334.

   Every day of every week, Weekly Law is there for you.

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