There are many benefits and perks to choosing an assisted living community. However, among the services and amenities at an assisted living community all designed to increase overall wellness, perhaps the most commonly overlooked benefits to community life are the social opportunities.
Assisted living communities are designed to increase meaningful senior socialization and enhance connections between neighbors in order to boost emotional, mental, and physical health. Here’s what you need to know about assisted living and senior socialization, including how it happens in daily community life.
Why Social Circles Matter for Seniors
Over the past decade, targeted research about social connections and healthy socialization has demonstrated one important finding: Your social calendar can be an indicator of your overall wellness, especially as you age. The focus on healthy socialization has only increased due to the isolation brought about during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what we are learning from scientists and senior aging professionals.
How many seniors are struggling with isolation?
First, let’s talk about how many older adults are considered to be socially isolated and more at risk for the health consequences that come from that lack of consistent connection with peers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly one-third of adults over the age of 45 report feeling lonely. Furthermore, nearly one-fourth of seniors over the age of 65 are considered to be socially isolated. The National Council on Aging adds to the conversation by noting that isolation during COVID-19 has been particularly acute among older adults.
What are the risks of social isolation for seniors?
This isolation and the accompanying perceived feelings of loneliness have been linked to serious health conditions including an increased risk of dementia, heart disease, stroke, depression, and anxiety. Social isolation has also been linked to an increased risk of hospitalization and even premature death.
Why does social isolation happen to seniors?
With so many older adults at risk for more health challenges due to loneliness and isolation, it’s important to understand why that isolation is happening in the first place.
For most adults, a shrinking social circle is common, often beginning at retirement when work colleagues are no longer a point of contact during a normal workday. More factors that add to this shrinking social circle phenomenon include family or friends moving away, as well as friends passing away. Adult children and other family members might also not need the senior as much as they did when they were younger, increasing the isolation from daily family contact.
In addition, adults can experience isolation due to transportation challenges. They may simply have fewer planned opportunities to connect with neighbors and friends throughout the week.
Fortunately, there is a potential answer to isolation and feelings of loneliness: life in a senior living community. Let's explore what this looks like in an Assisted Living community.
Senior Socialization in Assisted Living Communities
Assisted living communities make connecting with friends and neighbors daily much easier than living at home. There are a few reasons why meeting a new friend happens more often in assisted living communities, starting with how the community itself is designed.
Shared social spaces increase connections.
Shared social spaces such as game rooms, movie theaters, and hobby rooms encourage connections between neighbors who have similar interests. For instance, residents who love the outdoors can connect while walking on-site pathways or chatting on the patio or in the garden. The community restaurants, fitness center, and salon are also places where neighbors congregate and naturally begin conversations throughout the day.
Common experiences build friendships.
Beyond the community design, assisted living communities also foster connections by giving residents the opportunity to share an experience with friends. At Cedarhurst Senior Living communities, our life enrichment programs, events, and trips are the perfect way to meet up with neighbors or make a new friend. Residents are able to strike up a conversation over a shared experience like an outdoor concert, a trip to the new restaurant in town, or a yoga group fitness class.
Bonding over a meal satisfies social hunger.
Finally, assisted living communities create opportunities for connection during dining experiences. At Cedarhurst Senior Living communities, our teams recognize that a meal is more than good food. It’s a social experience that connects residents every time they pull up a seat at the table. We love seeing residents make plans together over breakfast or catch up on the day’s activities over dinner.
Settling in and making friends at Cedarhurst is easy.
With all this talk of socialization, it can be common for new residents to worry about how they will make friends and fit into a vibrant senior living community. Here’s the good news: senior living communities aren’t just for social butterflies!
Any resident can find a new friend or two at dinner or by attending an event. In addition, Cedarhurst Senior Living communities have robust welcome programs for new residents, and team members connect residents based on shared interests.
At Cedarhurst Senior Living communities, we make the transition to community life even easier with our Pair to Prepare™ program. New residents are welcome to invite a family member to stay with them for their first few days and nights, giving everyone confidence as they begin this new life story.
Start Connecting at Cedarhurst
Assisted living communities are vibrant and bustling hubs of activity and connection. It’s no wonder residents thrive once they move in; there are ample opportunities to make a new friend right out their front door. This extra socialization that happens daily is just the wellness boost that residents need to feel valued, loved, and healthy.
At Cedarhurst Senior Living, we are proud to approach senior living differently. We are focused on creating communities that are welcoming for everyone, offering personalized approaches to ensure every resident has the chance to socialize and create relationships that matter to them.
We would love to invite you to experience community life for yourself at any Cedarhurst Senior Living community near you. Schedule a personalized tour or attend an event at any of our communities. We’ll save you a seat!