The Health Benefits of a Social Life in Senior Living
It’s a fact: 43% of seniors report frequent feelings of loneliness. While Isolation and loneliness are unpleasant for anyone, they present particular risks to older adults.
Moving to a senior living community is an attractive solution, offering the chance to engage socially and improve one’s overall health.
“We understand the importance of a rich social life,” says Judy Given, Senior Director of Campus Development at Abe’s Garden Community. “We help our residents develop connections with our team members and fellow residents. And we facilitate continued connection with family members and friends. Our calendar of classes, events and outings provides residents with opportunities to socialize while engaging in high-interest activities.”
Continue reading to find out how social engagement can improve the quality of life of older adults – and how senior living communities support social wellness.
Socialization’s Effect on Mental Health
Growing older comes with transitions and adjustments. A rich social life can keep older adults resilient as their circumstances change, contributing to better overall health.
Here are some ways that socialization supports mental wellness:
It strengthens self-esteem. Regular social interactions can help seniors maintain a healthy self-concept and a sense of belonging. A senior living community provides this supportive group of people with whom you can share life’s ups, downs, and special moments.
It decreases depression. Depression affects a senior’s mental health. It has also been shown to be detrimental to physical health. In fact, depression can worsen the outcomes of certain chronic illnesses and decrease longevity. An expanded social life and other treatments can improve these outcomes.
It deepens feelings of purpose. Especially when centered around a shared goal or group activity, relationships can fill you with a sense of purpose and meaning. This is why senior living communities offer an array of opportunities to connect with other residents. You can make friends in an art class, during an outing, or while working in the community garden.
How a Social Life Improves Holistic Health
The health benefits of socialization extend beyond emotional and spiritual wellness. Community life profoundly affects an older adult’s physical well-being.
Here are some ways that a senior’s social life influences their physical wellness:
It encourages healthy habits. Studies show that when an older adult has rich connections and frequent social interactions, they are more likely to make healthy decisions. Whether it results in eating a more balanced diet or participating in routine physical activity, social engagement encourages a healthier lifestyle.
It reduces the risk of chronic disease. The National Institute on Aging has confirmed a list of negative health outcomes connected to social isolation and loneliness. Among them are high blood pressure, heart disease, a weakened immune system, and obesity. Living in a community supports your social wellness and has a positive effect on physical health.
It promotes cognitive health. The stimulus provided by regular social interaction gives seniors the opportunity to keep their minds sharp and to stay intellectually engaged. Especially when these activities involve a physical component, they can prevent dementia, cognitive decline and memory loss.
Activities To Keep You Socially Active
Since a strong social life is integral to staying healthy, consider new ways to expand your networks and stay socially engaged:
- Volunteer using your gifts and talents.
- Join a club or class at your senior living community or elsewhere.
- Engage in lifelong learning.
- Go on a senior living outing with like-minded residents.
- Create a new tradition with family or friends.
- Attend a fitness class at a gym or aquatic center.
A Senior Living Experience Inspired by Community Life
Abe’s Garden Community in Nashville, TN, provides residents with many opportunities to foster connections with others. Whether residents live in Independent Living, Assisted Living, or Memory Support, they can participate in specially designed programming that caters to their interests and abilities. Contact us today to discover how this community of socially active seniors could enhance your life and your overall health.