Unfortunately Dementia is a disease that can devastate a person’s ability to socialize, but being among other people is incredibly important for our loved ones with Dementia. Social interaction is healthy, like exercise for the brain, and can slow symptoms including deteriorating memory. In fact, staying socially engaged with friends and family has been shown to boost self-esteem, which for people with dementia means better eating habits, more exercise, and better sleep.
At Elderday Center we think of interaction as a challenge. Our Pearls (members) may understandably want to be alone because thinking has become difficult, especially in middle stages of dementia, but getting out and carrying on conversations forces the brain to be active. Someone with dementia might spend time daydreaming, inside their own head, and this internal place can become too comfortable. Being able to transition from inside to outside the mind, from daydreaming to speaking with another person, is an important skill to maintain. Socialization achieves this as well.
Our Pearls are social creatures! Being with each other to talk and share experiences nurtures the soul. Feeling a sense of belonging is, of course, better than feeling alone.