How Do You Create Daily Social Integration With Your Aging Parents?
We all love socializing and having a good conversation with friends and family. However, as we get older, social events seems to slow down and sometimes disappear. Why, you may ask? There are several reasons. As you get older you tend to not drive as much and your world becomes smaller and home-based. Many seniors are not comfortable with using a computer to look up what activities/speakers/clubs are available in their senior center or other events in their town.
However, many experts will tell you that socialization in older adults can extend their life and overall enjoyment in living. We all understand how important it is to socialize when we are young, but we sometimes overlook how important it is to stay socially active when we get older. Sometimes we need to nudge our loved ones to get them out the door and interacting with friends. How can you ignite socialization with your aging parents so it is a daily activity?
Today’s aging world is changing, and the internet and social media are contributors to the shift. In general, society is so geared to use a computer and social media as their social engagement, they are going to miss out on the joy and health benefits of LIVE social interaction. Adults in their 40s through their 60s are not going to age like today’s seniors are aging. We will have to help them engage socially and not with a electronic device. Too many times adults think if they “like” something or comment on something in social media, they are engaged and socially active. In a sense, they are being active, but not really engaging in human interaction. The human interaction is key to living a long and happy life.
It is vital to your mental and physical health to encourage daily social interactions with aging parents or loved ones to keep them happy and healthy. You need to work daily to keep them talking on the phone or meeting friends for coffee to keep them socially active. Here are some opportunities or ways to create social engagement with your aging parents. Sometimes these small gathering spark new friendships and other ways to gather and be social.
4 Ways to Create Social Events for Your Parents
1.) Plan a small gathering. Start with what interests them. For example, plan a card game with a small group of your dad or mom’s closest friends. Invite a few friends over for snacks and beverages. They may worry at first about what needs to be done; however, ease their mind and let them know that it is all arranged and all they just need to do is be present. Make the calls and prepare the food and drinks. Make it festive and fun by playing for prizes! Additionally, an added benefit of playing cards is that it exercises your brain and helps improve memory and concentration.
2.) Get them involved with a group or club. Does your father like to reminisce about his military service? What about cars? Help him get connected and involved with a local American Legion Post that offers veterans of all ages a place to connect, share stories, and volunteer in their community. He will meet people with his similar experiences and interest. And not only can he socialize with others, but he may make new friends with a shared purpose. There are many different types of clubs in every size of community that afford the opportunity to stay social and connected to everything local.
3.) Have their friends call them. Sometimes it only takes a call to get your loved one out the door to be social. Oftentimes, if you contact one of their relatives or friends to call your parent or loved one, that is all it takes. They can get together for lunch and catch up, achieving social time instead of staying home alone. It only takes one call to get the ball rolling to help your parents stay engaged socially.
4.) Take them on a date. You may be asking, “what kind of date?” How about a scenic drive or take them to dinner and a movie and enjoy the time together? It only takes something small to get your loved one out of the house and enjoying meeting other people and socializing for an evening.
There are many ways to keep your aging parents social. It is important for all adults, young and old, to have daily social interaction to stay healthy. You can turn multiple things into small or grand social events to keep them mentally and physically healthy.
Do you need more advice on how to socialize your aging parents? Contact Senior Living Options and ask Ann to help you out! She is a wonderful resource for helping adult children find the best social and living situations for their aging parents.
Author: Ann Jamison
Ann Jamison is an experienced senior advisor who has successfully worked with hundreds of families to help them find the best care and home-like environment for themselves or their loved ones. Prior to launching Senior Living Options, Ann was an eldercare advisor for a national placement agency and served as sales director at a senior living community. Thanks to her 25-year career in advertising sales and marketing, Ann is able to discern between hype and reality for her clients. Ann recognizes that there are objective factors that need to be weighed when making a life-changing decision, but she can also assess the important softer attributes by getting to know her clients and by using the gut instincts that can only come through extended experience.