The need for company, love, and support is not something that diminishes as we grow older. A healthy social life is particularly important for seniors.
Healthy relationships are necessary at every age, but the importance of socialization for seniors cannot be overemphasized. Consistent social interactions help keep people mentally, physically and emotionally fit. They also fend off the difficulties inherent to isolation and make lives feel purposeful.
Older adults with a fulfilling social life tend to avoid many of the physical, cognitive and emotional difficulties that seniors who are isolated encounter. There are a number of important ways that socialization can improve senior health, as explained by LiveStrong:
Socialization can provide a tremendous boost to a senior's cognitive health. Positive social interactions on a consistent basis help keep seniors stimulated, mentally sharp and intellectually engaged.
The improvements in these cognitive areas can help delay general cognitive decline, including memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Importantly, when these social interactions include exercise groups, the benefits of both are increased significantly. The upshot is that healthy socialization leads to an increase in the quality of life.
In order to improve the social life of older adults, it is helpful to understand some of the obstacles seniors encounter when trying to stay active and cultivate healthy relationships. Here are some of the most commonly reported difficulties seniors face in this regard:
Some of these obstacles are more difficult to overcome than others, but it is imperative that both older adults and their loved ones endeavor to eliminate or mitigate them as much as possible. Otherwise, it will be that much more difficult to find and participate in the social activities that deliver diverse benefits to older adults.
The key is active intervention. A lack of socialization can lead to the very difficulties that prevent it. Without intervention, this can quickly develop into a vicious cycle that is difficult to escape. That’s why it’s important to get provide intervention and become involved before any of the above obstacles become rooted in our lives.
Fortunately, it’s never too late. The longer we wait, the more difficult it will become to develop the necessary social life. But there are always positive ways to intervene, no matter how far the problem has progressed.
The Bible equates respecting elders with reverence for God.
"Rise in the presence of the aged and honor the elderly face-to-face. "Fear your God. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:32 ISV
“A gray head is a crown of glory; It is found in the way of righteousness.”
We have a responsibility to serve our elders.
“Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails.”
Psalm 71:9 NKJV
“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.”
1 Timothy 5:8 NIV
How can we benefit, what lessons can we learn by serving our elders?
"Wisdom is with aged men, With long life is understanding.” Job 12:12
One reason people fear aging is that they feel they will outlive their usefulness. Aging doesn’t equate with fading away. Many spend retirement years serving others and making a difference in ways they couldn’t when they were younger. When physical limitations change an older adult’s life style, they still have gifts (fruit) to offer us.
“They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.”
Psalm 92:14, NIV