Did you know that there is a correlation between companionship and maintaining cognitive skills? Turns out friends really do keep you on your toes! A recent study by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard Medical School found that those who reported feelings of loneliness experienced a cognitive decline at a rate of 20 percent faster than those who did not report it. On the other hand, those who said they were not lonely or clinically depressed showed less cognitive decline. You might feel lonely or depressed from time to time, but you’re not alone. With a strong, supportive network, you can stay cheerful and sharp. Here are five ways to combat those feelings and stay social!
If you live alone, the days can feel long, and you might be searching for company. Companions can give you just that! They are amazing, selfless individuals who can spend as much time with you as you’d like, and they’re flexible with your schedule and needs. Here at Angels Senior Home Solution, we have many companions at the ready who truly care about clients like you and want to spend time with you. He or she can take you for a walk in the park, play board games with you, and even take you to the movies. You’ll have an extra pair of hands–and a new friend!
Social media like Facebook and Twitter are very useful for keeping in touch with your kids, grandkids, and other loved ones. You can see what they’re up to and even reach out to them by posting family pictures and the like. Texting is another convenient way to have an instant conversation with your loved ones. You can even meet friends online or join online book or bridge clubs, which could be a great alternative to physical clubs if you are limited in transportation or mobility. And remember: it’s okay if you’re not sure how to navigate the online world at first! Your loved ones will be happy to help you.
This is a great way to get yourself out of the house so that you can spend time with the people you love the most! If you don’t have a car, drivers’ services like Uber and lyft can get you where you need to go at an affordable rate. Better yet, you can ask your Angels companion or family to give you a ride to lunch, the movies, or wherever you plan to spend the day. Having these weekly activities will get you into a nice routine of catching up with others, and it will give you something for you and your loved ones to look forward to each week!
Reaching out to others in places you all frequent can open the door to some unexpected yet beautiful friendships! Does your church have a weekly Bible study? Introduce yourself to those who are already in the study and ask how you can get involved. Are there senior-focused fitness classes at the gym? Sign up for one and talk to the other participants before and after class. You might think that you’re just discussing deep topics or staying active, but you’re also forming bonds with seniors in the same boat. Who knows–maybe they’ve been looking for companionship, too.
If you have a favorite social activity–lunch with your grandkids, book club with your friends, or that class at the gym–make it a habit! It’s important (and good) to try new things, like an art class, to keep your mind sharp, but there’s nothing wrong with sticking to what you enjoy most. And it’s normal to need some alone time every once in awhile, too. Just make sure you keep reaching out to your family and friends! They love you very much and want to help you stay “in the loop!”
Regardless of your age, you can maintain a social network with family, friends (new and old), and your caregiver. Staying active, trying new things, and pursuing your interests will only make you sharper!