If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s just how important it is for us to stay engaged with friends, family, and others. The pandemic made that difficult, and we’re still not quite over the resulting social challenges. This is especially true for our senior population, a vulnerable demographic that often struggles with isolation and loneliness, even during the best of times. Sadly, things seem to have gotten worse: according to the National Poll on Healthy Aging, loneliness among older adults has doubled during the pandemic. In June 2018, 27% of people over 50 years old said they sometimes or often felt isolated from others. By June 2020, that number grew to 56%.
Isolation can be particularly debilitating for seniors who aren’t as independent as they once were, either because of physical limitations or because of cognitive decline. When that’s the case, senior living services can be of great help. Even perfectly healthy seniors can benefit from an assisted living situation. The trained caregivers at these communities know how to engage residents, how to keep them feeling useful, and can identify situations that may need special attention. Below are some ways senior living placement can make a real difference in the emotional and social lives of seniors.
One of the obvious benefits of an assisted living arrangement for a senior is the companionship it potentially offers. Depending on how socially inclined your loved one is, there will be ample opportunities for them to meet new people and make new friends. Isolation deprives a person of something as basic as making conversation, a fundamental aspect of being human. Talking to people, sharing stories and memories, enjoying the company of others — these are all crucial activities to keeping seniors connected, happy, and engaged.
Assisted living arrangements are also wonderful places for seniors to learn new hobbies, take part in organized outings, listen to visiting speakers, or learn a new dance step or two. In short, there’s almost always something going on in these communities that affords a senior the chance to engage, grow, or simply have fun!
And let’s talk about the importance of fun for a moment: Having fun is essential to wellbeing no matter what your age, and it’s especially so as we grow older. Laughter, levity, and enjoyment can relieve depression and anxiety, and having fun often involves being with others. Engaging in fun activities does a lot more than give your someone the chance to laugh; it contributes to a sense of connection to others and to one’s own emotional needs.
Our bodies are meant to move, and if you don’t believe it, consider this: regular physical activity has been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer, and is associated with improved mental health and the delay in the onset of dementia. That’s why the older we get, the more important movement becomes! The caregivers at assisted living facilities know this, which is why assisted living communities almost always include some sort of daily organized exercise or movement opportunity for seniors to take part in. Again, these activities are also a chance to interact with others and feel connected to one’s community.
With winter ahead of us and the pandemic still very much a factor, it’s vital that we support the social and emotional needs of the seniors in our lives. Senior living placement can be an excellent option.
Senior Care Authority can help you decide on the best eldercare services to meet the needs of you and your family. Let us help you! Get in touch today.