Benefits of Socialization & Activities for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia
The benefits of being social for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia
Research shows that social support plays a significant role in overall health as people age. Spending time with friends, neighbors and family members can boost quality of life, including both physical and mental health.
For some seniors – particularly those with memory loss – there may be fewer opportunities to socialize as they age. Whether driving and/or getting out of the house has become more difficult, their circle of friends has become smaller, their contact with former work colleagues has decreased or their memory impairment interferes with participating in activities, older adults tend to socialize less as they age.
Socialization May Slow the Progress of Alzheimer’s and dementia
While the reasons for a decline in socialization for seniors may vary, doctors and health care providers all agree on the many benefits. Good social support can reduce stress, ward off anxiety and depression, and reduce the risk of some physical health concerns. In particular, engaging with other people in social situations seems to help patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in several ways. In fact, it may even slow the progress of these conditions. One study found that cognitive abilities declined 70 percent more slowly in individuals who had frequent social connections compared to those who had little social contact with others.
Socialization Has Been Found to Support Brain Health
The strong correlation between social interaction and the health and well-being of seniors who choose to be social has been recognized by the National Institute on Aging. Socialization has been found to support brain health, and while the exact mechanism may not be completely understood, individuals with a strong social network generally retain more memories than peers who are more isolated.
For seniors to fully realize the health benefits of being social, support should include activity as well as physical companionship and conversation. Grandview Gardens, the memory care neighborhood at Redstone Village, is centered around Memory Lane, an impressive collection of relics from days gone by, an old-fashioned general store and ice cream shop, and even a full-size retro automobile. It was designed to incorporate purposeful programming and regular socialization into the daily lives of residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.