When older adults live alone in their homes, their chances of becoming socially isolated greatly increase. Perhaps a spouse has recently passed away, or a close friend moved to a warmer climate, leaving you with less of a support network. Or, maybe there’s a lack of public transportation in your area, and you often spend extended periods of time alone in your home.
Over the winter, the risk of senior isolation escalates even further. Inclement weather makes travel difficult, even if you’re still comfortable behind the wheel. Plus, the snow and ice lead to treacherous conditions for simply walking down the driveway to retrieve your mail; you’re more likely to slip and suffer a fall or accident over the cold months.
Senior Isolation: The Effects on Your Health
Social isolation takes a toll on your overall health, wellness and quality of life. Numerous studies have been conducted regarding the health benefits of staying socially active, such as a reduced risk for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular problems and even some cancers. In fact, some studies show that socially isolated seniors have weaker immune systems and are more susceptible to illness and infection.
When you’re isolated from others, your mental health can also be impacted. Feeling lonely and out of contact with your friends and loved ones easily leads to depression, anxiety and higher stress levels, too.
5 Social Activities for Seniors this Winter
The good news is there are plenty of ways you can stay connected to others throughout the winter! First and foremost, if you haven’t already made the move to a senior living community, it’s time to give it some serious thought. One of the greatest benefits of living in a community are all the social opportunities you’ll enjoy regularly, all without ever needing to step foot off the campus – an important perk during the winter months!
Here are five other ways you can avoid social isolation while you await the spring thaw:
- Make friends with your neighbors. If you don’t have family in the area, reach out to your neighbors. Invite them over for lunch or dinner, or ask if they’d be willing to at least check on your well-being on a weekly basis. There’s no shame in asking for help to assure you’re staying as safe as possible in your home.
- Join a community center. Find a nearby community center and learn about the types of programs and activities they offer to older adults in the area. Chances are, there will be an activity you enjoy on their calendar! This way, you’ll have the opportunity to meet others who share your interests, too.
- Get connected through technology. When the weather won’t permit for in-person visits, you can use today’s personal communication technologies to enjoy a face-to-face conversation with friends or family. Programs like Skype and video chatting offer a way to stay in touch with friends and family no matter how far away they may be.
- Head to the gym. Consider finding a local fitness center that offers exercise classes designed with older adults’ needs in mind. Participating in 30 minutes of physical activity every day can help improve your mood, ward off depression, increase your mobility and reduce the risk for falls. As an added bonus, you’ll enjoy some social interactions while you work out, too!
- Consider pet adoption. Pets offer unconditional love and support to older adults who are feeling socially isolated. Visit your local animal shelter and consider adopting a senior pet looking for a forever home to help ward off feelings of loneliness this winter.
Enjoy a Full Social Calendar at Concordia Life Care Community
At Concordia Life Care Community in OKC, you’ll enjoy senior living with all the amenities, including a variety of events and activities to keep you socially engaged with others. From wellness programs and restaurant-style dining to 24-hour security, live the maintenance-free lifestyle you crave for a vibrant retirement.
If you’d like to learn more about Concordia, contact us to schedule a visit to see all our beautiful community has to offer.