Crawford Care Management

Socialization

Socialization can be as effective in keeping a senior healthy as medication. Often, as people age they lose their friends, may be institutionalized, are isolated and depressed and have feelings of hopelessness. Whether an elderly person is still living in their home or an institutional environment, there are many creative things you can do to provide stimulation and offer socialization opportunities.

  • Pet therapy is used in nursing homes to reduce depression and feelings of isolation. Homebound elderly can also benefit from a visit from a puppy or kitten.
  • Many elementary and middle schools offer free or nominal cost plays and musical performances by the students. Community members are encouraged to attend and it can be as exciting for an elderly individual as a Broadway production, with earlier start and finish schedules.
  • Radio broadcasts from the 30's and 40's are available on tape and bring many hours of memories for older adults suffering from short-term memory loss.
  • Simple games like checkers and cards are great mental stimulators that have been credited with slowing the progression of Alzheimer's and other forms of senile dementia.
  • A trip to the salon to have hair and nails done can have an instant and positive effect on mood equivalent to powerful antidepressant medication.
  • Cards, pictures, artwork, and any other mail are always enjoyed by the elderly, whether they are home or in an institution. Displaying grandchildren's or great-grandchildren's work will make them proud and keep them connected to their family.
  • When visiting an elderly loved one, spend time talking about the "old days". Ask questions about their childhood, how they liked school, what meals their mother made, any pets they had as a child. Those memories are typically much clearer than recent events and the person will feel important and capable as a result.
  • Look through photos of times gone by to stimulate conversation and trigger pleasant memories.
  • Listen to "big band" music.
  • Find our what the elder's hobbies used to be. For example, if it was gardening and they are unable to work in the yard, buy bulbs and help them plant them in a planter.
  • Ask for some help. Get a recipe or instructions for changing a tire. Elderly people need to feel needed.