How Assisted Living Helps Seniors Rebuild Their Social Lives
When we think of senior health, we usually focus on physical wellness. Older adults worry about their hearts, lungs, and bones, but may not realize the importance of emotional and mental health.
Research has shown that there is a link between loneliness and overall health. Unfortunately, many adults feel alone well before they hit their golden years. A National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report found that one-third of adults over age 45 stated that they felt lonely. That number increased to one-fourth among respondents in the 65 and up age group.
The older a person gets, the more people they will lose in their life. Friends and family pass away, move, or relationships change. When we are younger, it’s usually easier to go out and make new connections. We are more mobile, energetic, and likely to have access to more ways to meet others.
This can become a challenge for seniors. They may lose more of their support system over time. Their health needs increase and their mobility may decrease. It may not be possible to go somewhere to socialize. For some, a trip to the doctor’s office or grocery store becomes difficult.
This creates a situation where an elderly person is more vulnerable to physical and mental health conditions. Loneliness can lead to depression and cognitive decline.
Research has also found that:
- Social isolation can increase dementia risk by as much as 50%
- Social isolation increases risk of premature death from all causes, possibly surpassing obesity and smoking
- Poor social relationships were linked to a 29% increased heart disease risk and a 32% increased stroke risk
- Those experiencing loneliness were more likely to develop depression and anxiety or commit suicide
- Loneliness significantly increased the risk of death in heart failure patients
To understand the true cost of assisted living, it’s important to consider how it can add value to the lives of seniors.
Assisted Living Brings Peers Together
Assisted living brings peers together. Seniors can meet others around their age who may have similar backgrounds and life experiences. These are wonderful opportunities to reminisce and build friendships with people who understand what you are feeling.
Residents typically live close to each other, so they are never far from a friend or neighbor. These facilities also offer communal spaces that are ideal meeting spots. All residents have to do is leave their rooms and see who is out and about.
Seniors Attend On-Site Parties and Activities
If you want to discover the amenities of modern assisted living facilities, start with the events calendar. Today’s retirement homes take a holistic approach to senior care. They offer activities throughout each month that keep residents active.
These on-site events are wonderful because residents don’t have to travel to attend. Those with limited mobility can join in safely and comfortably.
Most facilities offer holiday dinners and parties as well as birthday celebrations, picnics, crafts sessions, book clubs, garden parties, and much more. There’s something for almost any interest.
Doing something fun and engaging is a great icebreaker. Seniors feel less pressure to socialize while doing something that they enjoy. They still spend time among their peers and can engage in conversation more naturally.
Assisted Living Lets Family Get Involved
Moving into assisted living can be intimidating for some seniors. They may prefer to stay in their rooms instead of socializing – at least at first.
Most facilities welcome friends and family to stop in and visit. This can be a good way to help your loved one build confidence and meet new people. Help them meet their neighbors or plan a small get together in their rooms or a communal space.
You can enjoy time together and help your loved one ease back into their social lives. Assisted living provides an excellent balance that encourages seniors to fortify existing bonds while building new ones.
Learn Something New and Meet New People
Many assisted living communities host classes and other learning opportunities. It’s never too late to learn something new. Residents can join these classes and enrich their lives while meeting their neighbors.
Some local colleges offer classes for seniors that can also be beneficial. Many of these may be taken online, which presents another way to interact with peers. Groups of seniors can enroll and participate from the comfort of their senior care home.
Residents should speak to staff to learn more about the classes available at their Scottsdale assisted living community.
Ensures That Staff Are Always Checking In
The staff is one of the biggest benefits of moving into senior care. Residents and staff interact daily so your loved one never feels alone. Often, residents and caregivers form meaningful friendships that make their interactions more engaging.
Staff checking in is a good way to monitor changes in mental health. Caregivers can also advise you or your loved one on available resources like counseling and therapy, or to schedule a visit with their doctor if needed.
Seniors Enjoy More Free Time for Socializing
Independent living sounds appealing, but it can be difficult for aging seniors. There’s far more work involved with household chores, cooking, and home maintenance. Assisted living residents don’t have to worry about any of that.
Meals are provided and can be prepared to meet dietary needs. The facility handles all maintenance and cleaning – even laundry. Staff is on hand to assist with activities of daily living if needed. This frees up time and energy for residents to go out and make new friends.
If you are looking for an assisted living facility, make sure you ask what services are included.
Assisted Living Promotes Mental Wellness
Assisted living homes promote mental wellness. They help prevent isolation and loneliness. They connect seniors with services and programs that benefit them. The facility will also help schedule appointments and arrange transportation so that seniors can stay on top of doctor’s visits and other care needs.
Staying active, healthy, and social goes a long way in improving quality of life and longevity for seniors in assisted living.