Reprinted by permission, Oasis Senior Advisors

July is Social Wellness Awareness Month. Social wellness is defined as nurturing yourself by building healthy, supportive relationships with others. Making genuine connections with those around you is critical to physical and psychological health.

 

Research shows that the physical risks of being socially isolated are comparable to the risks associated with heart disease, cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity. Maintaining relationships-giving and receiving emotional support-ensures that you have a network of friends, family, and others to turn to in times of need.

 

Why is social wellness important for those with dementia-related diseases and their caregivers?

In early-stage dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, signs of mental impairment become more visible. It’s not unusual for the person affected by the disease to become moody, to express negative emotions (e.g., anger, frustration, anxiety, depression), or to withdraw socially. A study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that seniors who were housebound or socially isolated were not only more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease but experienced more rapid cognitive decline than seniors who got out and interacted more with others.