Eating well, staying physically and mentally fit, and remaining as independent as possible are just a few of the many requirements for aging and living well. Socialization is a frequently overlooked factor that can have an impact on both your body and mind.
The Importance of Socialization for Seniors
We need interaction with others, no matter our age. As we grow older, the lack of connectedness can be detrimental. Here are just a few of the benefits of socialization:
- Lower risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower risk of depression, stress, and anxiety
- Lower risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
- Improved physical health
- Better sleep
And while research clearly shows we need others for optimum health, one interesting study found that greater benefits were enjoyed by older adults who went beyond their usual social circle of family and one or two close friends. This was due in part to being less sedentary and experiencing higher levels of physical activity, greater positive moods and fewer negative feelings.
Why Socialization for Seniors Can Be More of a Challenge As We Grow Older
At a time when older adults may need and desire companionship the most, it often proves more difficult to achieve. They may have lost a close friend or family member, while others may have moved away. The feeling of loneliness or isolation can make it more difficult to meet new people.
Those who live in more rural areas and no longer drive can find themselves isolated due to a lack of transportation options. Others may find it more of a challenge due to mobility issues. If the opportunities become fewer, socializing with others may become less of a possibility.
How a Senior Living Community Contributes to Socialization for Seniors
Following are only a few of the ways a senior living community can support your loved one to remain socially engaged:
1. Community life
Living in a community that plans for social interaction makes it easy for people to connect. Having their own residence will provide them with privacy while still affording plenty of opportunities to stop and chat.
2. Activities and amenities
One of the reasons it’s easy to meet others in a senior community are all the readily available activities and amenities. Whether it’s meeting neighbors at happy hour or for lunch - or sharing a project in the art studio - residents find it easy to strike up a conversation.
3. Opportunities to meet and make new friends
As we grow older, it can become more difficult to meet new people. But a senior living community is filled with residents who have similar life experiences and stories to share - making it easy to get to know each other.
4. Fitness centers and classes
Taking advantage of the fitness center or exercise classes not only does wonders for physical and emotional health but is the perfect place to meet others as well. An added bonus? It is much easier to stay motivated if you work out with friends.
5. Social events and entertainment
Communities plan social events that are fun for their residents, which also provides the perfect opportunity to meet your neighbors. Whether it’s a concert, dance or movie night, having fun and enjoying each other is a big mood booster.
Socialization for Seniors? Ask Your Loved One These Questions
If you’re not sure if your parents are remaining social, you may want to have a conversation with them. To get a better understanding of where they are, try asking these questions:
1. Do you feel lonely?
Be a good listener when talking to your parents. Do they mention going out with friends or conversations they had with someone outside of the home? Ask them if they ever feel lonely or miss their friends.
2. Are you beginning to feel isolated from others or activities you enjoy?
Are your parents still able to participate in the activities they once enjoyed? Do they mention attending a social event or being involved in their book club? Do they go for long periods of time without seeing anyone else?
3. Do you still have friends or are you finding it more difficult?
Unfortunately, loss can be more a part of life as we grow older. Do they mention that it’s harder now to meet new people? Ask if they’ve crossed paths with anyone new lately? Would they be interested in forming new relationships?
4. Do you feel engaged with life?
It’s easy to become isolated without realizing that it’s happening. Ask your parents how they spend their days. Do they only stay home or watch television? Are they still involved in the world? Do they see themselves as connected with others?
Life at Eskaton Communities
The word Eskaton means “dawn of a new day.” In our communities, we see each day as an opportunity to enhance the lives of our residents. We’ve been serving the Sacramento region and Northern California for over 50 years.
The Eskaton Difference starts with our life-enriching programs and collaborative partnerships. With a national reputation for innovation, we focus on creating communities that provide our residents everything they need for purposeful living.
We invite you to visit one of our award-winning communities to discover some of the benefits we offer, such as:
- Private residences
- Delicious and nutritious meals
- Social opportunities to meet and make new friends
- Creative activities and therapies
- Fitness centers and exercise classes
- Housekeeping services
- Transportation services
- 24-hour staffing
- Free Wi-Fi
- And much, much more!
If you’re considering whether senior living could be the best choice for you or a loved one, we’re here to answer any questions you may have. We also invite you to download our complimentary guide, Family Decision Toolkit: How to choose the right senior living community.
To schedule a personalized tour, call us at 1-866-ESKATON (or 1-866-375-2866) or visit eskaton.org.