Ways That Friendship Helps Our Brains
Comfort Keepers is dedicated to the physical and mental health of our clients. Having a Comfort Keeper® creates an opportunity for your loved one to form a new relationship.
Create Lasting Friendships With Comfort Keepers
It is common for seniors to feel overwhelmed or frustrated when daily tasks become more difficult to do. The changes associated with aging take a toll not only on seniors’ physical health, but also their mental health. Mental health and physical health are intertwined and equally important.
One way to improve mental health is to encourage your loved one to socialize. Any interaction with people outside of your immediate family is beneficial for your senior’s memory and emotional health. In our video series, “Friends. Forever. Always.,” we explore just how important friendship can be.
Another way for your loved one to stay sharp and happy is to meet new people outside of their usual social circle. Making a new connection is great for seniors’ mental health because it provides an outlet for them to share stories and memories that relate to pivotal moments in their life. Reliving these moments and sharing stories with a fresh audience keeps seniors mentally active and helps to bring up positive memories that stimulate their minds.
Interaction and Cognitive Function
Researchers give neurotransmitters the credit for the mental health benefits of socializing. While talking with AARP about this subject, Lou Cozolino, a psychologist and professor of psychology at Pepperdine University, believes that the release of oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin into the brain creates this effect. When a person’s brain releases these three neurotransmitters, stress is reduced and it’s easier to feel a sense of well-being and contentment.
Forgetfulness is a common aspect of aging, however; our brains can be trained to work more efficiently. It’s easy for young people to brush off memory loss, but for a senior, it can feel like the start of a much larger problem. As we age, common and non-threatening causes hinder our ability to remember. For example, older people often experience a decrease in blood flow to the brain, which may cause gaps in memory. Another common cause is that the body produces lower levels of the hormones and proteins that protect and repair brain cells. Neither of these is necessarily a cause for alarm. Everyone, no matter our age, faces some level of forgetfulness. If you’re caring for an older adult, you may be worried about changes in his or her memory. Remember, forgetfulness doesn’t necessarily indicate that something is wrong.
As the brain ages, it is common to forget things. Below are top examples of forgetfulness. If your loved one’s memory issues reflect the behavior described, consider writing them down and talking with their doctor. Something more serious may be going on, but that’s not always the case. Research has shown that games can promote brain health, helping to keep the brain sharp at any age.Common forgetfulness:
- Occasionally forgetting where they left objects that they use often
- Walking into a room and forgetting why they entered
- Cycling through several family members’ names before saying the correct one
- Having the “on the tip of my tongue” sensation
- Occasionally missing an appointment or meeting on their schedule
- Having a harder time retrieving information that they just learned
- Being unable to explain things quickly and with precise details
How do in-home caregivers help?
The relationships that are formed between caregiver and client go far beyond helping with chores. Caregivers should not be arbitrarily assigned to your loved one, rather, a selection process helps create a foundation for genuine friendships to grow. Your loved one should be cared for by someone who is loving, patient, and compassionate. They provide as much or as little assistance as your loved one needs, whether it is with cooking, daily tasks, or just spending time together. Having a great caregiver not only minimizes stress on your senior and your family, but creates an opportunity for your loved one to form a strong and lasting friendship with their caregiver.
Here are some examples of things you can do to keep the mind stimulated. A word scramble, trivia game or word search can be fun and keep us thinking. There are also excellent interactive resources like Lumosity that can keep the mind challenged. With Lumosity, not only can you keep the brain stimulated, you can also measure yourself against others in your age bracket.
If you are looking for in-home care for yourself, your family, or a friend, and put your worries to rest. We are dedicated to easing the load of families and friends, while allowing your senior to remain in their home.