July is Social Wellness Month, which is a good time to evaluate your elderly family member’s social network and overall social wellness. There are plenty of reasons that your senior’s social wellness is an important factor in her general well-being and in managing her health. These are just a few of those reasons.
Stress Levels Tend to Decrease
People, particularly seniors, who have a strong social network tend to be better able to cope with the stresses of daily life. That’s not because your senior’s social network solves all of her problems, but because your elderly family member is less likely to be lonely and isolated. Her social system is there for your senior in multiple ways when she needs them.
Cardiovascular Issues Can Respond Better to Treatment
Social isolation and loneliness also contribute to physical issues, including cardiovascular diseases. Increased stress can lead to things like higher blood pressure, which over time damages your senior’s heart and cardiovascular system. Having a stronger social support network allows your senior to reduce that risk of future heart problems.
Healthy Social Wellness Improves Immune Function
Aging adults with emotional support have stronger immune systems overall, leading to an ability to fight off infectious diseases more readily. Your senior is more likely to eat healthier meals and to engage in more physical activity, which also helps to boost her immune function.
Quality of Life Improves
As your senior engages in social activity and as her health improves, her overall quality of life improves, too. Your senior is more likely to feel happier and more able to engage in life on her own terms, which just feeds more positive energy into the cycle.
Your Senior Might Live Longer
There aren’t any guarantees, of course, but in general people who have strong social support are typically less likely to pass away early from preventable health issues. Your elderly family member may be more likely to see medical attention for something that troubles her, for instance. She may also be engaging in healthier choices simply because she’s motivated to do so.
It can be much more difficult to make friends as your senior gets older than it was when she was younger, but this isn’t necessarily always about friends. You’re part of your senior’s social network as her family caregiver and elderly care providers can fill that role, too. It’s more about helping your senior to have stronger social wellness overall.