The Key to Better Health: Social Interaction!

One of the reasons Cambridge Adult Day Center exists is to prevent isolation and promote independence among adults of all ages. Social interaction - being with others and enjoying their company - improves quality of life in so many ways for all of us. Here are five ways being social improves all lives, but especially those adult with special needs, dementia and Alheimer's.

1. Loneliness has been linked to cognitive decline. Research has found links between cognitive impairment and loneliness. According to AARP, one recent study by researchers at Southern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Group found that people who have more support in their lives have a lower chance of developing memory-loss symptoms.

2. Mental stimulation can have physical benefits. Social interactions often lead to many additional healthy lifestyle changes. For example, the University of Rochester Medical Center explained that increased social activity among adults has the potential to lower blood pressure and reduce their risk of cardiovascular problems and various forms of arthritis. This is usually because those who are socially engaged are also more physically active and are more likely to maintain a nutritious diet. Social activities can also help people reduce stress and anxiety, which is what ultimately leads to lower blood pressure levels.

3. Being social helps many seniors avoid mental health conditions. People who are frequently engaged in activities with friends or family,

or who have someone reliable to talk to often have a more positive outlook than those who don't. Participating in hobbies and activities with others can also help them find pleasure in life when things get difficult. The Alzheimer's Society noted that remaining socially active may improve sleep quality in Alzheimer's patients as well. This is important, as getting a good night's rest is key to avoiding conditions like depression and anxiety, which people with dementia tend to be more vulnerable to.

4. Social support helps seniors and adults with special needs maintain their independence. Social isolation frequently leads to depression and a myriad of other mental health issues like anxiety that increase the amount of extra support adults need. The Alzheimer's Society explained that when people don't have the opportunity to express their feelings and emotions to others, this results in frustration that may cause further alienation from friends and family.

5. It can be beneficial to communicate through activities. The Alzheimer's Society pointed out that it's not uncommon for people in the later stages of dementia, for example, to show a behavior or need through an action. For example, they may tap or move their feet across the floor for a number of reasons, whether this means they're frustrated or excited. If this is the case, talk to them while playing music or dancing. This will encourage self expression and can be very soothing for them if they were upset. They'll also benefit from the communication if you talk to them frequently while doing daily tasks like sweeping or cooking. Although they may not respond, listening and interpreting what you're saying will stimulate the brain.

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