Many people struggle with the decision to put their parent or other elderly relative in a retirement community. Many elderly relatives will try to put off going to an assisted living or nursing home for as long as possible because they don't want to give up their independence, and it can be very difficult to force an elderly relative into such a facility. However, that elderly relative's health is often at stake. If that person's health is not enough for you to make the decision to help your elderly relative make the transition into a nursing home or assisted living, consider the social implications on a senior's health as well. Chances are good that your elderly relative might be living in relative social isolation. There are three ways that being social can help seniors.
1. Improves Mood
A huge indicator of whether or not an elderly relative is going to have a happy retirement or a pleasant time living to an advanced age is how happy that person is in general. It can be very difficult to maintain a positive outlook if you are by yourself all of the time. When a senior is around other people, those other people will distract him or her from any worries or frustrations that he or she might have. This improved mood can even help seniors cognitively. Research shows that seniors have improved cognitive functioning and short-term memory functioning when they are happier.
2. Increases Longevity
It has been shown that seniors who are not regularly social have a higher mortality rate. This can be because any signs of disease that manifest will not be noticed if there is not another person present. By increasing social contacts, a senior can be sure that any medical issues will be noticed and treated.
3. Improves General Health
There are a number of different health indicators that being social can help. For example, it has been found that seniors who are lonely will be at a higher risk for elevated blood pressure. Lonely seniors are also more likely to make unhealthy life decisions, such as not engaging in exercise, smoking, and not eating a balanced diet. Without people around, seniors may find it easier to slip into obstacle-free habits that may negatively affect their health.
In order to help convince your elderly relative that being around other people in a nursing home, assisted living, or retirement facility like The Cedars is a positive thing, consider presenting these facts to him or her. The facts may make the decision easier for that relative.