5 Ways Staying Social Keeps You Healthy

Elderly woman hugging young children

Neighbors warmly greet each other in the dining room for breakfast and linger over a cup of coffee and a scone.  Chatter and laughter fill the hallways of Aegis Living, as residents begin their mornings.  Over a second cup of coffee in the bistro, residents gather to discuss the daily news.  It’s a typically busy morning in our community.

This scene can be a stark contrast to an elderly parent who is living alone.  No one to greet them in the morning or help them get dressed.  No one to share breakfast with, to make plans for the day.  One recent study followed close to 45,000 people over the age of 45 who had heart disease or a high risk to develop heart disease. The study found a lower life expectancy from heart attack, stroke, or other heart complications over a four-year period than those living in a communal setting or with family members.  The comradery and socialization of an assisted living community cannot be matched with living alone.

Assisted living communities are built on a social model.  Of course, we provide exceptional care and assistance, but we also offer amenities and a daily full calendar of events, activities, excursions, clubs, games, hobbies, music, brain-teasers, and so much more. The scheduled life enriching activities are an easy way to meet neighbors and become good friends. Our Life Enrichment Directors cater activities for each community to reflect the interests and the hobbies of the residents who make up a community.

Communities are purpose-built to support the passions, interests, and hobbies of our residents. Whether they are engaging their artistic side in our art rooms, participating in our music therapy programs, working with a fitness instructor, or learning a new recipe in our demonstration kitchen, every community offers designed rooms, amenities, and programs to meet our residents’ interests.

We know that socializing is beneficial to both the health and well-being of our residents.  But why is that?

A Sense of Belonging.  No matter your age, everyone wants to feel like they belong or are part of something bigger than themselves.  Creating friendships through shared experiences and activities is a meaningful way to build that bond with their neighbors. We encourage our residents from the minute they move in, to meet their neighbors and join activities to get to know the other residents better.  We make a point to introduce new residents to others who we feel might strike up a friendship.  Moving into an assisted living community can be daunting, so making a new friend can positively change their attitude toward the move.  Our staff tries to nurture these new friendships.

Improves Self Esteem. Your senior parent or spouse might not be able to do as much as they used to.  Their frailty, immobility, or slipping memory may be a source of embarrassment or frustration.  This can negatively impact their self-esteem.  Feeling that you are accountable to others and contributing to the community can be a big boost to one’s sense of worth.   The higher your self-esteem, the better your mental outlook will be.

Enhances Mental Health. Isolation can lead to feelings of despair and, in some cases, depression. As humans, we crave interaction and connection. Friends and relationships add to our quality of life at any age. Being around others, participating in activities, laughter, and conversation with neighbors and caregivers is good for one’s mental health. Our residents engage in activities together that keep them aware of current news, stimulates their brain through interactive games, and encourages sharing memories.

Improves Physical Health.  Our residents enjoy participating in the activities and exercise programs that get them up and moving or an excursion out into the neighborhood for some fresh air.   Studies have shown that social interactions, especially in older adults, can help to boost their immune system, which helps them fight off colds, the flu, and other illnesses. Social engagement boosts our residents’ overall sense of well-being. At Aegis Living, we also provide transportation to our residents, including to doctor’s appointments.  Many seniors who no longer drive may not regularly see their physician.

A Sense of Purpose.  At Aegis Living, we believe that giving back to our local charities and within our communities is vital to our residents’ sense of purpose. We have residents who bake dog treats for local shelters, make blankets for young children needing assistance, and knitting circles who knit hats for newborns at the local hospital.

We offer a wide variety of scheduled daily activities, events, and outings to keep residents actively engaged and encourage comradery.  Some of our activities are unconventional, such as beer making from growing the hops to bottling the brew.   Other examples include:

  • Local sightseeing excursions and visits to local attractions
  • Live entertainment at happy hour
  • Intergenerational programs with local schools
  • Interactive music programs
  • TED talks and group discussions on current events
  • Arts and crafts programs to create, paint, and build
  • Exercise programs that include tai chi, yoga, stretching, and balance workouts
  • Special interest clubs
  • Games, cards, brain teasers
  • Cooking classes
  • And so much more!

These events, activities, and programs encourage group interaction and engagement among the residents in positive ways. At Aegis Living, your parent will have a support system of not only caregivers to help with their personal care needs, but an entire community of peers who are going through similar challenges and changes.

To learn more about the benefits of social activities for your senior loved one, reach out to an Aegis Living community near you.

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