Countless times we have seen the benefits of social interaction on the well-being of our participants at Adult Day Services. Through the years, we have admitted seniors who have been alone at home during the day for some time. Typically, the day is one of solitary activity.


Countless times we have seen the benefits of social interaction on the well-being of our participants at Adult Day Services. Through the years, we have admitted seniors who have been alone at home during the day for some time. Typically, the day is one of solitary activity.

Television and sleep become primary. Visiting with neighbors “over the fence” or at the grocery is not done on a regular basis. All too often, the pattern is to become more solitary through the years.


One of our participants came to ADS not willing to speak much or participate in activities. Because of the social atmosphere, after about two weeks, he began to stand straighter. He laughed at jokes. He took part in the planned activities. He visited with peers. He became a member of the “family.” This improvement was in large part because of the social aspects of the center. His medication didn’t change and the homelife situation remained the same. This same man now doesn’t want to go home early and if he has to be absent, he hates it a great deal.


A study in ScienceDaily as reported Dec. 15, 1994, suggests that seniors sleep better the more social activity they have. Dr. Susan Benloucif is a professor at Northwestern University Medical School.


“Many of the health changes associated with aging, including the decline in sleep and cognitive abilities, can be attributed to sedentary lifestyles and social disengagement among older individuals,” Benloucif said. “Evidence suggests that maintenance of social engagement and avoidance of social isolation are important factors in maintaining cognitive vitality in old age.”


Basically, then, staying at home alone is not healthy.


For many seniors, as they get older, the social network shrinks. Trying to deal with this is difficult and often the isolation doesn’t have a negative effect until some time has passed. There are many ways to involve seniors socially. Church attendance and belonging to church organizations, volunteering time to answer the phone or read, belonging to bridge clubs, mahjong or bunco groups, having lunch at the senior citizen’s center, joining groups at the Ardmore Village, the list goes on and on and all are vital activities that will stimulate. And, the sleep experience should improve!