Benefits of communication and how to better engage in communication for seniors

Communication is an important aspect of any person’s life. To get by and to be successful in life, you need to know how to communicate effectively. There are many types of communication which include verbal, non-verbal, written, and visual. For elderly people and seniors, it is important to have regular and consistent communication with others to avoid loneliness and depression, which is common in old age. This article aims to shed light on some of the benefits of communication, particularly for seniors.

Communicating with others can help your mental health

Communicating can have major positive mental health impacts and is key to mental health recovery. In terms of mental health, communicating with others can help you feel less lonely and detached. Loneliness in old age is quite common and can feel extremely alienating. There are a couple of ways to deal with loneliness at old age, which include:
• Exploring things around you. Going on little adventures and exploring the places around you could help you feel less lonely. For example, you could go visit a local park, shopping center or garden. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you could even visit another town, city or even take a trip away.
• Being appreciative and being grateful of your current circumstances is a great step in alleviating feelings of loneliness. Why and how, you ask? Well, the act of simply accepting your life and acknowledging all the good things within it. This does not mean you should ignore everything negative in your life and be delusional because let us face it, that will likely do more harm than good. This also does not mean that bad things do not happen because, of course, they do. Being grateful means simply drawing more attention to all the good things in your life as opposed to the negative ones. Yes, of course, there are negative aspects to your life; however, placing too much attention on them can be extremely detrimental to your mental health.

However, one of the best and most immediate ways to alleviate feelings of loneliness and social isolation is by communicating with others! So, while you are exploring, say hello or greet another person to spark a conversation. You could even pet a dog (with the owner’s consent) and communicate with animals. Further, you could also communicate with nature!

In terms of mental health recovery, if you are suffering from mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, for example, communicating is an essential step in recovery. This is because doctors, social workers, nurses, and other healthcare workers need to be active listeners in order to help solve your problem. Also, communication can build relationships with these important people as well as friends and family.

In-person, face-to-face interactions

One way to communicate with your senior loved one is by doing so face-to-face. In-person interactions and communication are one of the best ways to communicate with a senior loved one. This is because there are many positive impacts of face-to-face interactions, which include the fact that:
• Real conversation release oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that is often labeled as the feel-good hormone. So verbally communicating with others in real life can make you feel good about yourself. Importantly, this hormone increases as we show affection which encourages attachment and trust. Therefore, it is important to communicate with others in real life so that you can form and build real, meaningful relationships.
• Communicating with others and having friends can make your body stronger! Research has shown that women who had larger social networks, who they met and interacted with in real life, were four times more likely to survive breast cancer. So, socializing and communicating in real life has the potential to make you stronger.

How should seniors go about communicating?

If your elderly loved one is feeling lonely, you should do all that you can to help them get friends. One way you can do this is by referring them to and helping them move into a care home, such as those provided by Belmont assisted living. Care homes are great places for elderly people because of various reasons, and each one might apply to a different person.

Firstly, they provide a space for communication and socialization. Good quality care homes can be places that are enjoyable due to the many opportunities residents are given to socialize with one another. So, it is less likely that elderly people will feel lonely in such a place because it is filled with other people experiencing the same situation. This is important, as everyone in the care home will likely share lots of similarities and, therefore, will be able to empathize with others in the home. So, care homes can be a place where your elderly loved one makes new friendships!

Sharing meals

Another great way for you to communicate with your elderly loved one or for them to communicate with others is through food, specifically sharing meals. Sharing meals and eating together provides the opportunity to share stories and tales and to get to know about the days of others. So, eating with others can have real and meaningful benefits for an elderly person’s health.

Physical health

Along with mental health, communicating can improve and help with an elderly person’s physical health. How? Well, if you go on a walk with another person, you are simultaneously communicating (you will likely be talking, so verbally communicating or even visually communicating) and exercising. So, for maximum benefits, try to encourage your elderly loved one to undertake some form of exercise with another person. This is because doing exercise with other people can help make it feel easier and less strenuous as you are enjoying the other person’s company. It could also make you more competitive or successful, as you have someone encouraging you to do better. Also, exercise does not necessarily have to be intense, especially for an older person, as this could do a lot of damage. Simply encourage them to go on a walk every now and again.

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