Actively Aging: Socialization

Eau Claire (WQOW) – October’s “Actively Aging” segment focused on socialization for seniors.

The sounds of socialization signal substance, without it, quality of life declines.

“Social connections are actually something that seniors have to work at in order to keep them,” said Mary Pica Anderson, executive director for the L.E. Phillips Senior Center, “Otherwise as they start to dissipate, loneliness and isolation starts to set in which leads to depression and health problems.”

Pica Anderson is right, according to Dr. Sandra J Frohling from Marshfield Clinic Health System, there’s evidence that people who live alone die more often of cardiovascular disease.

“We know that there’s evidence that pro-inflammatory blood proteins are higher in people who live alone, suggesting that their immune system is under increased stress putting them at increased risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s,” Frohling said.

In a 2009 Pew Research Report one out of every six Americans over 65 described their lives as lonely. Now, if those adults could just come together, they’d probably have some things in common!

“Everyone in this element of aging goes through certain situations,” Pica Anderson said, “It may be bereavement, it might be a physical health issue, it might be children living far away, it’s just nice for them to have someone to connect to of their own age to talk about these issues to go for for advice.”

The L.E. Phillips Senior Center is a great place for seniors to connect with each other and learn how to use technology to connect with other friends and family. Margaret Schneider is one senior who takes advantage of this resource.

“This morning I wrote to my daughter in St. Louis and I said good morning it’s cool here I hope you got better weather,” Schneider said.

Natalie Hegna, a volunteer at the senior center teaches Schneider and other seniors a variety of technological things.

“Sometimes it’s really specific,” Hegna said, “Like they can’t figure out how to work their phone or sometimes they just want to learn how to use Facebook or take a selfie.”

The main goal is to empower seniors to be more social.

“Well now days that’s really the only way you find out what your kids are doing,” Schneider said, ‘Is get on the laptop because they don’t call home like they used to.”

The L.E. Phillips Senior Center’s website lists various social groups members can be a part of. 

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