The transition to winter is full of holiday gatherings and festive events. But, for many, it can also be a lonely time of year. Seniors, for example, may feel isolated from others or stuck inside their homes due to frigid temperatures or unsafe driving conditions.
Additionally, as we get older, our social circles often become smaller. Perhaps, family members move to another state, we lose touch with old friends, or our loved ones pass away. The truth is the older we get, the harder it becomes to meet new people and build meaningful relationships.
Understanding Senior Isolation
It’s safe to say that many of us know what it means to feel isolated. After all, the 2020 lockdowns kept Americans from seeing loved ones and socializing in their communities. But even before the pandemic, a growing epidemic remained under the radar: senior isolation and loneliness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), social isolation among older adults was associated with a 50% increased risk of dementia and other severe medical conditions, including stroke, cancer, and heart disease.
Furthermore, studies continue to show that social isolation and loneliness increase mortality risk by 29%.
Why Is Socializing so Important for Our Health?
To put it simply, our brains are wired to seek social connection. However, when this is unavailable, the brain experiences stress, depression, and anxiety, making the body more susceptible to health issues. Therefore, extended periods of isolation can cause seniors to develop diseases that affect their physical and emotional well-being.
So what can we do to combat isolation and loneliness?
Step one is awareness!
Before we can understand how to fight loneliness, we first need to understanding how it impacts our health and the wellness needs of those in our communities. Once we recognize there is a problem, we can start working together to find a solution.
Step two is getting involved.
We’ve discussed intergenerational activities in the past, but these activities’ social, physical, and mental benefits cannot be understated.
Connecting people from every age group helps us fill in the gaps that separate us due to stigmas. It also allows us to build a stronger community. One focused on improving social, health and economic aspects for older adults by partnering with younger generations.
Step three is finding a community that improves your quality of life.
If you or a loved one is looking to build connections and meaningful relationships with others, the time to start talking about senior living communities is now.
Research proves that senior living communities help reduce social isolation among aging adults. In fact, a 2018 study revealed that seniors experienced increased resilience, mood, optimism, and satisfaction within their communities. Additionally, 70% of residents saw a dramatic increase in their quality of life after moving to a senior community.
Why Senior Living Communities Help Reduce Isolation
Let’s go back to 2020 for a moment. Cities all over the country and the globe shut down. People were encouraged to stay home and avoid going out. For seniors living at home, your best opportunity to see loved ones was calling them on the phone or figuring out how to operate video sharing to watch your grandchildren play.
Though we’re thankful for technological advances that help us stay connected to our friends worldwide, virtual screen time is no substitute for in-person human connection. Human touch, for example, whether it’s a hug, a hand on a shoulder, or holding hands, can calm our nervous system and even lower blood pressure.
Therefore, staying connected to loved ones via chat or FaceTime is not enough to fulfill our innate need for human contact.
Now, imagine those living in senior living communities. Yes, everyone follows the recommended procedures to protect the health of all residents living in the communities. But seniors have the freedom to explore new places and participate in various activities and programs. And most importantly, they have friends, neighbors, and staff with whom to connect and socialize.
Sweetwater promotes our resident’s independence while simultaneously giving them endless opportunities for social engagement and relationship building—all while having fun.
How Sweetwater is Fighting Loneliness
We understand the importance of staying connected to others and keeping active. Therefore, we design our programs to promote leisure/skill hobbies, health and wellness, and activities that allow residents to pursue their interests and passions.
Our residents always know that a friendly face is just around the corner. They don’t need to hop into a car and drive somewhere to chat over coffee, see a movie, play a card game, or attend a church service. Everything they want and need is right where they call home. And if they decide to stop in for a chat with our team, we’re only too happy to obligate.
Considering moving to a senior living community? We encourage you to contact us so we can provide you with a tour, answer your questions, and put your mind at ease.
At Sweetwater, our goal is to help end senior isolation and loneliness and improve the quality of life for every resident we serve.
For more information on the benefits of senior communities, read this article. To schedule an in-person tour or if you’d like to talk to our team, please get in touch with us today!Contact Us