The Importance of Socialization in Assisted Living: How to Foster Connections

Assisted living helps millions of American families thrive in the twilight of their lives. A large part of assisted living’s success in helping older adults succeed is its social connectivity. Socializing helps older people live healthier lives.

Socialization in both assisted living and memory care communities is a quintessential part. A University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging surveyed adults ages 50 to 89 regarding loneliness and socializing. The survey was compared to similar questions asked several years earlier. 

According to the results, people who lived alone were 38% more likely to experience loneliness than those who lived with someone. 

The survey results highlight the importance of social connections in assisted living and memory care communities. 

Aspen Woods, a memory care community located on the outskirts of Chicago, highlights “a fun environment” on its social media. Senior communities like Aspen Woods often emphasize social environments as part of their community because they’re central to the well-being of residents.

Let’s examine the many evidence-based reasons social interactions help older adults thrive in senior communities.

The Benefits of Socialization for Seniors

In some ways, there’s no secret sauce here.

Socializing is a part of the human fabric. And that concept goes well beyond a senior community. We all need to experience connection. Socializing helps propel our mental health. It wards off feelings of loneliness. It unifies us.

But as we age, social connections break down. High School and college life likely remain as our social peaks. But those eventually are replaced with life in the workforce. But at a certain point in life, we may choose to depart the workforce and when we do, we lose many social connections. Over time, if we don’t find a way to replace those connections with new friends, we could find ourselves experiencing feelings of loneliness.

This is exactly why senior communities strive to ensure that residents engage one another.

Senior communities like Aspen Woods find creative ways to connect their residents, as you can see.

Let’s examine the many evidence-based reasons social interactions help older adults thrive in senior communities.

So, what are the benefits of socialization for seniors?

Here’s a list:

Enhanced Mental Health

When seniors socialize, they reduce the risks of depression and anxiety. Depression in older adults threatens neurobiological states.

Improving mood and overall emotional well-being is the centerpiece of why senior communities engage their residents with fun events. 

When we stimulate mental activity, we can also help stave off neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

Physical Health Improvements

Socializing often results in older adults moving more, and that’s a significant benefit.

Some social events are based around walking or group exercises, while others may promote dancing. In any case, a social engagement of any form typically fosters the added benefit of moving. 

A body in motion often stays in motion, as they say.

Increased Longevity

Studies suggest that robust social networks can contribute to a longer life.

Research consistently displays that those who keep social connections live longer than those who live more isolated lives. 

Boosted Immune System

Positive social interactions can help strengthen the immune system through stress reduction. This can help seniors fight off infections and illnesses more quickly.

Emotional Support Network

Social connections offer emotional support through friendships and community bonds. This can help seniors better cope with changes such as health issues or losing loved ones.

Strategies to Foster Connections

Creating social connectivity in memory care and assisted living communities is easier said than done. This is why not all communities are equal. This aspect is something to consider if you’re helping a parent look for a community.

Here are a few strategies that highlight efforts to create connections for seniors. 

They Organize Regular Social Events and Activities

The assisted living community should organize events and activities with frequency. You can always poke around their social media, but visiting the community or getting a reference is your best bet to validate. 

These activities should include various activities to cater to different interests and abilities, ensuring everyone can participate.

Facilitate Clubs, Groups

A great senior community often creates clubs or groups around shared interests such as gardening, books, knitting, and cooking. This encourages residents to lead these groups, which fosters a sense of ownership.

Buddy and Mentor Systems

Many senior communities will pair new residents with longer-term residents who can show them around and introduce them to residents. This helps new members feel more welcomed and eases the transition into community socializing. 

Leverage Technology

Senior communities often leverage technology to help residents stay in touch with family and friends outside the community. This relies on video conferencing technology. Some communities may offer assistance in using these technologies, such as Facetime and Zoom, to help improve communications. 

Encourage Family Involvement

Senior communities may invite family members to participate in events. This helps bridge connections between memory care, assisted living community, and family members. 

Conclusion

Senior communities that feature assisted living and memory care utilize numerous strategies to help residents better connect. Socializing is scientifically proven to help reduce degenerative brain disease and ward off loneliness and depression. 

Visit Aspen Woods or any of our locations throughout the country.

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