Seniors with dementia commonly become fearful, frustrated, angry, or otherwise emotionally upset when exposed to unfamiliar locations, large groups of people, or overly stimulating situations. However, with routine opportunities for socialization, seniors affected by cognitive disorders are often easier to calm. Socializing while living with dementia has been shown to offer many other benefits.
Promotes Overall Brain Health
Scientists theorize socialization exercises the brain, encouraging stimulation in multiple areas. Dr. David Bennett, a neurologist from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, explains having strong social networks enables older adults to retain their memory longer compared to peer groups who live more solitary lives. Bennett and associates studied a group of seniors whose brains exhibited extensive accumulations of the kinds of plaques and tangles that are linked to Alzheimer’s. The doctors found the test subjects who had larger social networks had fewer abnormalities in the area of the brain that regulates memory.
Provides Cognitive Exercise
When a senior with dementia becomes exposed to a social situation, the brain engages in a variety of tasks. The auditory center receives signals from conversations. The analytical area must determine the meaning of spoken words and how they apply to the conversations. The brain monitors eye contact, body language, facial expressions, and vocal tones while analyzing their meaning. Words, sentences, and topics of speech stimulate the memory center to interpret what’s being said by others. The older adult must also determine the correct verbal and nonverbal responses.
A professional caregiver with training and expertise in methods of cognitive stimulation can be a wonderful asset for seniors. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of in-home care. Fairfield 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.
Encouraging older adults to play games or work puzzles in groups keeps various regions of the brain active. Denise Park, a psychologist and director of the Productive Aging Laboratory at the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas, Dallas, believes social interaction prevents the brain from becoming distracted. Seniors who engage in social activities more frequently are better able to switch their thought processes to more focused activities, which may include performing normal daily tasks, enabling them to remain independent longer.
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 home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Reinforces Orientation to Place & Time
Older adults with dementia eventually lose the ability to recognize places or understand the concept of time. Thus, they may become lost when out in public unaccompanied. The brain also has difficulty distinguishing between events that occurred recently and situations that took place years earlier. However, socializing has been shown to stimulate the area of the brain that remembers and categorizes people, places, and time.
Strengthens the Sense of Belonging
As seniors with dementia lose more cognitive ability, they often become self-conscious and experience anxiety, depression, stress, and other mood problems. However, having solid social networks they can rely on helps affected seniors feel accepted, appreciated, loved, and supported, which can reduce the risk of various behavioral, emotional, and mental disorders that often affect people with dementia when they become lonely.
Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, 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 Fairfield 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. If your loved one needs assistance with the challenges of aging, reach out to one of our knowledgeable, compassionate Care Managers today at 203-955-1915.