Assisted living communities promote regular social activity, keeping the minds and spirits of seniors active and healthy. They also help minimize falls, which can lead to severe injuries.
Research supports that social connection significantly improves seniors’ quality of life and longevity. A review of 148 studies found that those with stronger social connections have a 50% greater likelihood of survival.
Sense of Community
A sense of community is vital to seniors’ health and well-being. It provides a foundation for emotional and social health that can help fight off loneliness and depression, which can lead to additional health concerns.
Research has shown that a sense of community is linked to residential satisfaction, feelings of safety and security, and civic participation. Typically, sense of community theory and measurement revolves around four elements: membership, influence, reinforcement integration of fulfillment needs, and shared emotional connection. While these aspects are likely to apply similarly for persons with mental illness, incorporating the disability factor may require the development of a new measure.
It’s common to undervalue the value of friendships for senior citizens. Friendships can help alleviate loneliness and have many health benefits. For example, studies show that lonely seniors are at a greater risk for developing long-term health issues like heart disease and high blood pressure. Social interaction has also been shown to improve immune system function. The body’s monocytes, which fight off infection, are more mature in those with an extensive social network.
It is no secret that making new friends at one age can be more difficult. However, trying to cultivate friendships as much as possible is essential. Assisted living communities are great environments for socializing, and they have a team of professionals who help residents make friends and get involved in activities. These experiences can include group meals, community outings and events, and volunteer opportunities. Increasing socializing can also aid in the fight against depression and loneliness, both of which are associated with a higher risk of sickness.
A sense of socialization is a critical component of community in assisted living, Jacksonville, Florida. Residents feel welcomed and supported by staff members who help them navigate the community, engage in activities, attend events, and maintain friendships with peers.
Studies show that people with strong social networks tend to live longer. Even if you move to a new senior living community, making friends and building relationships is possible.
Whether attending book club, current event discussions, spearheading craft programs, or knitting for hospitalized children, many facilities offer a range of volunteer opportunities to keep seniors involved and interested. And for those still with family and friends far away, communities provide transportation to expand the possibilities for continued interaction and friendships. Lizardo argues that instead of a simple transfer, the socialization process involves reconstruction whereby an individual takes something from external culture and adds it to their beliefs. This process provides opportunities for errors, modifications, and misunderstandings.
Many assisted living communities feature a dedicated staff member who plans and coordinates social activities. This role is often known as an activities director or life enrichment coordinator. The goal is to encourage recreational, physical, and intellectual activities that boost mental sharpness. Some communities offer educational courses on topics like medieval knights or the history of music; others host a university professor for a six-week curriculum.
Healthcare providers can help by asking about patients’ social connections during an appointment. They can also proactively address a patient’s need for connection by listing it along with other lifestyle questions on an intake questionnaire or adding it to the electronic medical record.
If your loved one needs a safe, secure, and comfortable community with 24-hour care and access to quality healthcare, consider exploring their options for senior housing. Visit New York State’s website for more information about assisted living residences, including inspection and citation records.