Community Blog

How Socialization Can Prevent Depression and Anxiety Among Seniors

By Doug Feltman

For most people, interpersonal relationships are essential to their self-care routine. However, some home-bound senior citizens are at risk of becoming isolated and lonely and some of our Home Helper’s clients were very depressed when their children hired us. While this can usually trigger mental health difficulties such as depression and anxiety, these negative effects can be combatted when an individual is exposed to more socialization and contact with others. Whether you’re a caregiver or a senior yourself, you have in-home care options to help solve these mental health challenges. And at Home Helpers, we have some success stories of senior clients overcoming depression and isolation by being convinced to try some of the day care socialization programs that we take many of our clients to.

 

Depression and Anxiety in Older Americans

Mental Health America estimates that two million people aged 65 and older are dealing with some form of depression. In many cases, it can be triggered or aggravated by chronic health conditions common among older individuals:

 

  • cardiovascular disease
  • cancer
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • arthritis

 

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reveals that generalized anxiety disorder occurs frequently among seniors, particularly those who experience social isolation. Additionally, it can be prompted by specific events such as accidents or acute illnesses.

 

Social Isolation Is a Common Factor

It’s important to remember that there is a complex relationship between social isolation and both depression and anxiety. Those entering depressive or anxious states may withdraw from interpersonal interactions, and the lack of social contact may cause both conditions to worsen. In either case, reconnecting with people can serve as much-needed relief. While science is still trying to unravel the exact reasons why, it’s theorized that the brain activity associated with socializing and the reinforcement of healthy behaviors directly counteract the havoc that depression and anxiety can wreak.

 

How In-Residence Senior Care Services Can Help

In-home services like the ones delivered by Home Helpers aren’t just limited to personal or respite care, or specialized options for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Companion care allows you or your family member to stay socially engaged and active, and it’s a great method to counteract the risk of depression and anxiety resulting from excessive solitude and separation. A companion care professional can provide several simple yet helpful services:

 

  • talking and listening
  • playing games together
  • accompaniment on appointments and errands
  • assistance with reading
  • navigating social media

 

Companion Care Contributes to Overall Health

The total wellness picture for you or your loved one isn’t limited to just physical or medical care. Because social isolation and loneliness can instigate or exacerbate depression and loneliness, a consistent schedule of social interaction is vital. That’s why Home Helpers includes companion care in its menu of services, so you can select it as part of a focused and customized care plan to meet your family’s needs.