Even when dementia isn’t part of the equation, seniors sometimes have a difficult time being as social as they were earlier in life. But if your older loved one is also living with Alzheimer’s disease or a similar progressive form of dementia, socializing is even more important. In fact, it’s something that could slow the progression of cognitive decline and other dementia-related symptoms and boost quality of life. Here are five ways regular socialization could achieve this goal.
1. Preventing Other Mental Health Issues that Could Worsen Dementia
The Alzheimer’s Association notes that people with dementia often have issues with depression as well. Dementia may also progress faster or worsen if it’s coupled with underlying depression or another chronic or serious mental health issue. Socializing reduces this risk by providing opportunities to engage and interact with others. Regular social engagement also minimizes feelings of loneliness while also giving your loved one something to look forward to. Additionally, being social makes it easier for friends and family members to spot possible signs of depression so treatments can be recommended.
Aging adults with dementia often need assistance with the basic activities of daily living. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of homecare services families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
2. Providing an Incentive to Exercise
For seniors with dementia, regular social activity that involves physical activities can provide an added incentive to exercise. In turn, the progression of dementia may be slowed, since exercise provides a boost in circulation to the brain, which optimizes cognitive processes. Possibilities for socialization and exercise for seniors with dementia include:
• Senior exercise classes
• Family-based physical activities
• Walking with a caregiver or friend
• Favorite hobbies that are activity based, such as gardening
3. Creating New Memories
Memory loss is a classic symptom of most common forms of dementia, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to create new meaningful memories. This is exactly what socializing has the potential to do for seniors with dementia. A steady stream of new memories may also slow the progression of cognitive decline through the process of replacing lost memories with new ones. A Harvard University study found socially active individuals experienced less cognitive decline.
4. Making New Connections in the Brain
Unique social interactions also force the brain to make new connections. To create these new connections, pathways have to be created in the brain as well, which reduces the brain cell deterioration that’s characteristic of dementia by keeping multiple parts of the brain active. Seniors may then benefit from a slower progression of dementia.
A professional caregiver with training and expertise in methods of cognitive stimulation can be a wonderful asset for your loved one. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of homecare. Rhode Island families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
5. Helping with Mental Focus & Clarity
Seniors with dementia sometimes mentally wander or drift when not interacting with others. This drifting can affect mental focus and clarity. If it’s something that happens on a regular basis, cognitive decline may advance faster. On the other hand, if your loved one is regularly engaged and active with others, he or she has a reason to use parts of the brain responsible for focus and concentration. The progression of dementia may be slowed when this happens.
Dementia can make life challenging for seniors, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional caregivers. Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Rhode Island live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner when your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging. Call us today at (401) 284-0979 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.