Do you or your aging loved one live alone? This is a reality for many seniors in the United States. While it is possible for older adults to live successfully by themselves, it is important to keep in mind that living alone for a prolonged period of time can result in chronic loneliness and might even cause side effects such as depression and other health problems like high blood pressure.
So, how can senior loneliness be prevented?
There is not just one solution. However, moving to a senior living community can help. Whether you are interested in making your own transition to independent living, or you think that it would benefit your loved one to move to assisted living, it does not hurt to try this out. Continue reading this blog to learn two main ways in which senior living communities can help reduce senior isolation.
1. In a senior living community, there are various opportunities to meet with peers.
Does this scenario sound like something you or your loved one have experienced?
For years, you have lived in the same community. Maybe your spouse has passed away years ago or your children live in a different city or state. Many of your neighbors have moved, and the main way you connect with those close to you is through a phone call. Only a few times a month and on occasion do you see family and friends.
For many seniors, they are living alone because of multiple factors that have changed over time. While you or your loved one may find it easy to continue living alone and occasionally asking for help when needed, it is essential that older adults consistently have a group of individuals around them that they can share their time with. Just like the younger generation, seniors can benefit from socializing as well.
This is just one of the many reasons why senior living communities are wonderful. They give seniors the ability to connect with their peers on a regular basis and build relationships with one another.
Did you or your loved one used to enjoy knitting or crocheting on the weekends? What about watching an old movie with your friends? In senior living, you or your loved one can participate in fun hobbies like these.
Usually, senior living communities develop a calendar filled with various activities for residents to enjoy throughout the month. During these times, you or your loved one can chat with those in the community. Because many of the older adults might share the same interests, it can be easy to strike up a conversation and begin socializing with others on a regular basis.
If you plan on moving to independent living, seniors aged 70 and up can spend time staying socially active with their peers by exercising together or even enjoying time at happy hour. These are all great ways to improve one’s social life and maybe even reduce stress. Also, keep in mind that your family members and friends will still be able to stop by to visit whether you or your loved one are in independent living or assisted living. This way, they can continue to spend precious time with you.
2. In a senior living community, assistance is offered for Activities of Daily Living or Instrumental Activities of Daily Living.
Are you planning on helping a loved one make the transition to assisted living soon? Another wonderful thing about moving to a senior living community is that older adults in assisted living receive help for Active of Daily Living (ADLs) or Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs).
ADLs include tasks such as bathing, toileting, and eating, whereas IADLs include tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and managing one’s medications. Because assisted living services usually include skilled nursing care, residents can receive help daily from staff within the community.
If you are wondering how this can help reduce the feeling of loneliness, consider the time your loved one will spend with the nurses. For example, if mom moves into a community and she receives assistance from two nurses every day, she will likely create a bond with them.
The nurses will not only take care of your mother’s physical needs, but they will also ask how she is doing and check in on her regularly. Instead of living at home by herself, mom will be able to build a relationship with the people who are taking care of her, which may help her feel less alone, even in a community that may be new to her.
In all, making the transition to either independent living or assisted living not only can have positive benefits for you or your loved one’s physical health, but it also can have positive benefits for you or your loved one’s mental health. If you or your loved one are in a position where prolonged isolation has turned into chronic loneliness, consider moving to a senior living community to be with peers and receive help at the same time.
While it may be easy for you or your loved one to continue living on your own, it is important to consider living in a community where seniors can socialize and connect with others to help improve quality of life.
Also, if you happen to be the caregiver of a parent who will be moving to senior living soon, make sure to encourage them to get to know their neighbors and spend time with others. This can be challenging for some seniors, especially when they have lived on their own for so long, However, it just takes practice! Consider that it might be better for them to move to a community so that they are around others more.
What do you think about these socialization benefits that come with residing in a senior living community? Share in the comments below.
In the Aventine Senior Living communities, we present various opportunities for our residents to stay connected with each other and be social. If you have questions about our community or want to learn how we can help you or your loved one, click here to request your personal consultation.
1. Kaplan, Daniel B., and Barbara J. Berkman. “Older Adults Living Alone.” Merck Manuals Professional Edition, https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/geriatrics/social-issues-in-older-adults/older-adults-living-alone. Accessed 20 May 2020.
2. “Social Isolation, Loneliness in Older People Pose Health Risks.” National Institute on Aging, https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/social-isolation-loneliness-older-people-pose-health-risks. Accessed 20 May 2020.