The Importance of Friendship and Socialization for Seniors
Friday is my favorite day at Mt. Hood Adult Day Center, not because it is the end of the week, but because 3 of our unique participants, who find humor in almost everything, attend the center at the same time. As laughter fills the halls, their joyful personalities are contagious, creating a happy and fun environment. The benefits of socialization for seniors is apparent when we look around the center and see participants, visiting, helping and enjoying time with one another. As these beautiful friendships grow, our participants feel supported and nurtured by each other.
Benefits of Social Activity for Seniors
For aging seniors, the benefits of socialization immensely improve quality of life. Benefits such as, enhanced mental health, self-esteem, physical health, increased cognitive functioning and sense of belonging are some of the key benefits to social activity for seniors.
“Friends play a significant role in promoting overall health. Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies have found, older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.”- Mayo Clinic Staff
At Mt. Hood Adult Day Center, our daily clubs are designed to engage participants in social interaction. Daily clubs that are specifically designed for strengthening social skills include: Social Circle, Book Club, Devotional, Happy Hour, Support Group, Memory Enrichment and Tea Time. While the listed clubs are designed for stimulating social interactions, all of our clubs have social aspects. I enjoy stepping into our billiards room and seeing friends problem solve together on what the best move might be, or cheer each other on when someone hits a great shot. The billiards room is particularly magical because some of our participants who no longer play choose to spectate, creating an environment where everyone can partake in the excitement and action.
Some participants are what we consider ambassadors, always making sure that everyone feels welcome and included in activities. Others will quietly observe and participate as it seems fitting for them. It is uplifting to watch each of our friends in their role, they seem to have their social scene figured out. Often times, participants are faced with challenging emotions related to their disabilities. Taking part in clubs such as Support Group and Devotional offer insight and guidance on how to cope with some of the stresses and struggles in a judgment-free environment.
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are charming gardeners who make our souls blossom” – Marcel Proust
We understand the importance of friendship and socialization in seniors. Providing life enriching care in a safe, nurturing, and positive environment, where our participants can enjoy social interaction is a major priority at our center. Witnessing the support and love our participants give each other on a daily basis is an inspiration.
Sincerely, Liana Stegall