Maintaining meaningful connections and engaging in activities is crucial for your loved ones with Alzheimer’s. Many studies show that the time spent with family and friends may have advantages beyond simply improving their mood. This blog is a comprehensive guide on why patients with Alzheimer’s need to socialise and what activities they can do.
Why is maintaining social contact important for someone with Alzheimer’s?
People with Alzheimer’s or similar conditions are prone to social isolation and loneliness. Such feelings may even exacerbate the symptoms of diseases like depression and anxiety. It may also lead to a faster cognitive (brain-related) decline rate. Maintaining good social contact with near and dear ones help to alleviate these feelings.
According to researchers, being apart from family and friends might occasionally make the characteristics associated with Alzheimer’s worse, like wandering, anger, and hallucinations.
What issues prevent Alzheimer’s patients from socialising?
Being social is not always straightforward. The patients and caregivers have several obstacles.
- The Covid-19 pandemic has increased social isolation, particularly among the elderly. But now that the wave has declined, steps can be taken to spend time with friends or family.
- The stigma associated with having Alzheimer’s can sometimes be challenging to overcome. According to experts, people with early-stage Alzheimer’s could also be reluctant to participate in social activities because they might behave strangely or have problems communicating.
- After receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, some friends may decide they no longer want to be a part of the patient’s life. Some family members may avoid spending time with them because they think their loved one with Alzheimer’s no longer enjoys certain activities or would prefer to be alone. But this may not be the case.
- Some individuals with Alzheimer’s may feel abandoned, alone, or misunderstood when people around them act strange because of misunderstandings and erroneous beliefs about the disease. Support groups can conduct programs to train the patients and their family members to explain the condition to others and what to anticipate if the condition worsens.
What kind of social activities are recommended for people with Alzheimer’s?
According to many experts, group activities or music therapy may reduce symptoms of agitation, like aggression, pacing, restlessness, or emotional anguish, in those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. It is vital to support your loved one in engaging in activities they find enjoyable for as long as possible. Try to modify the activities as their condition progresses to suit their evolving capacities better. You may also try to assist them in discovering new pastimes that interest them and keep them active.
If your loved ones are in early-stage Alzheimer’s, interacting with others who also have the disease may bring them comfort and satisfaction. The patients can be taken to support groups and participate in programmes including education, music, art, and other social activities. The programs can also focus on training patients to inform the people in their life about the social activities in which they feel at ease. It can concentrate on enhancing the dependable, encouraging connections they already have. It is better not to focus on unsupportive friends or family members who can’t help the patients. They may need time to get used to the diagnosis and educate themselves on Alzheimer’s.
Is socialising vital for those without Alzheimer’s?
A thorough evaluation made during various studies revealed a connection between social connections and enhanced cognition (mental functions) in healthy persons 50 and older. Studies have also proved that social isolation and chronic loneliness in later life may increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. It’s interesting to note that the study contends that overcoming loneliness helps reduce the chances of dementia. More research is required to comprehend the relationship and its importance fully.
Suppose you’ve lost your spouse or partner, the loneliness due to the loss may affect you in various ways, and it is vital to overcome it. Women are more likely to experience the effects of this kind of diminished socialisation since they frequently survive without their husbands; becoming widows and leading a lonely life is challenging for them.
If you want to become more socially active, accept all invitations. It can be for functions or get-togethers. Or arrange a meeting with friends for lunch or coffee. Create a routine for socialising and plan weekly visits with friends, or your kids and grandchildren, if you have any.
It’s always recommended to volunteer for activities of your interest. This way, you can meet others who have similar interests. It’s also good to join book clubs and have sessions of discussions and interaction.
Being an Alzheimer’s patient or caring for one is not an easy chore. Alzheimer’s patients go through episodes of frustration, anxiety and fear that may lead them to a state of depression. It is vital to cope with the loneliness and attitudes of people around through programs and support groups that keep them socially active.