People are innately built for connection. Many people don’t realize the benefits to social interaction and its relationship to cognitive decline. Regardless of age, yet especially for older adults, the amount of social interaction in daily life greatly affects an individual’s health and well-being – emotionally, mentally and physically.
It’s only natural that aging adults experience the loss of family and friends. Not only is this difficult, but it makes it harder to connect to people as they once did. It also becomes more challenging to participate in social events and make new friends. To help combat loneliness, StoneBridge Senior Living provides the opportunity to build personal, meaningful relationships every single day.
We understand the importance and benefits of an active social life as it relates to each resident. Learning how social interactions play an important role in the emotional health of your loved ones is just the beginning. We hope to be a part of the solution for you and your family. We do this by providing group activities and creating opportunities for new friendships every day within our assisted living communities.
What are the risk factors of isolation
For aging adults, there are certain factors that put them at risk for feeling isolated, especially if they are still living on their own:
- Being a senior over the age of 80 years old
- Chronic health conditions
- Limited contact with family and friends
- Lack of resources
If your loved one checks any of these boxes, they are very susceptible to the feeling of isolation. A recent study from the CDC shows that individuals who are socially isolated have a greater chance of premature death. The study also indicates that there is a 50% greater chance of dementia, 29% greater chance of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke – all due to lack of social connections.
Roadblocks to social connection for seniors
Many seniors and their families may know the risks associated with a lack of social outlets and its impact on well-being, but there may be certain conditions preventing them from participating in social opportunities. Identifying these roadblocks may help you navigate them more effectively for the benefit of your loved one:
- Physical ailments or conditions
- Loss of a spouse or loved one
- Problems with transportation, mobility and getting around on one’s own
- Real or perceived cognitive challenges
- Decline in support of family to help with social activities
It’s important for family members and caregivers to be able to recognize these roadblocks in order to address them and find a solution. Ignoring them will only produce a greater number of socially isolated seniors and prevent them from connecting socially long-term. Cultivating a social support network is key to a long, fulfilling life as one ages.
These roadblocks are often easier to overcome if family members seek support for their loved one within one of the many quality StoneBridge assisted living communities.
Benefits of socialization for mental health
Seniors are a vulnerable demographic group, especially as it relates to issues of mental health and social isolation. Older individuals with chronic medical conditions are more likely to battle depression, anxiety and physical stress. If they are unable to find treatment or experience any improvement, they may develop additional health issues and worsen their lack of social interaction.
Recognizing the risks and hazards of not having social outlets for senior adults is a very important step, but recognizing the benefits of social connection is even greater.
The benefits associated with socialization of seniors to promote healthy aging include:
- Improved mood
- Improved cognitive function
- Increased memory recall
- Improved correlation with healthier behaviors, e.g. physical exercise
It’s natural for seniors to become less active as they age. Many, especially those with health conditions, go out less often because it’s simply easier – and requires less energy – to remain home. And if they watch a great deal of television, their lifestyle often becomes sedentary.
As you probably know, inactivity is the fastest way for a person’s mental and physical health to deteriorate. If you are looking for ways to prevent this sort of decline and promote more social connection and improved health for your loved one, here are a few simple ways to help:
- Technology: Video phone calls through apps like Facetime provide an easy, simple and convenient way to stay in touch
- Games: Playing board games or card games help promote fun socialization and cognitive function
- Exercise: Go for a walk
- Outings: Take a simple drive to change the scenery, get outside and/or have a conversation with someone to spark a friendship
- Support Groups: Connect with people who share a common interest or health concern
Socializing may not be easy for some, unless you’re a social butterfly, but these engaging activities can help individuals develop a new skill or meet a new friend or neighbor.
Choosing an Assisted Living Community That Promotes Social Connection
One of the most difficult decisions you can make, whether it’s for yourself or as a caregiver, is to leave your home behind and settle into a new one. At StoneBridge Senior Living, we make the transition seamless for new residents and support each family with a caring attitude and approach as they go through the process of moving into one of our assisted living communities.
Budget, level of care, amenities and location are all key factors to consider when choosing an assisted living community, but make sure to research the social programs offered as well. At StoneBridge, our caring and professional staff plan daily activities and programs allowing residents the opportunity to connect with staff and one another. Every day, we encourage activity participation within the community so residents feel engaged and socially connected.
Day-to-day social activities vary by location, but they include a wide variety of options including bingo, dances, shuffleboard, board games, religious services, sing-alongs, outdoor walks, baking, cookie decorating, dining room social time and so much more.
These types of activities have a positive impact on many residents, allowing them to open up and be more social with one another. Plus, it encourages other residents to do the same. When you spend time with people, it builds relationships – and relationships build community.
StoneBridge provides quality care for seniors
Allow our team at StoneBridge Senior Living to provide some peace of mind to you and your family as you navigate the process of selecting an assisted living community.
There are many variables when it comes to choosing a senior living community. It can feel overwhelming. StoneBridge will help answer all your questions and guide you through the process. We are also happy to share details about all the opportunities of socialization in assisted living and the programs we offer.
With several locations across the region, StoneBridge offers a strong sense of community and compassionate, quality senior care. Senior adults deserve to be in a place that feels like home. Here at StoneBridge Senior Living, that’s what we deliver.
Please contact us, and let our family care for yours.