The Social Benefits of Senior Living
Most of us have experienced loneliness at some point in our lives and know it can feel miserable. Unfortunately, seniors are particularly vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation, with an estimated 25% of adults age 65 and older considered to be socially isolated. But there’s good news, too. Senior living communities are uniquely structured to address seniors and socialization, creating an abundance of opportunities for older adults to participate in activities that foster friendship and connection.
The Importance of Socialization for Seniors
Loneliness doesn’t simply feel bad. It can have a negative impact on health, too. Research suggests social isolation and loneliness can increase the risk of premature death and a variety of conditions, including dementia, heart disease, stroke, depression, and anxiety.
Emphasizing Social Connection
Recognizing the importance of socialization for seniors, retirement communities are designed to help older adults connect. Fitness classes, social events, lifelong learning opportunities, clubs and interest groups encourage residents to do the things they enjoy in the company of others. Neighbors become friends — and so do staff members. Plus, family members and longtime friends are always welcome to visit, join in a meal, or stay overnight in the community’s guest suites.
In an active senior living community where a lively social life is prioritized, older adults who may have been isolated if they’d aged in place are able to thrive, reaping the many benefits of social interaction for seniors. These benefits include:
- Greater happiness. Over 80 years of long-term research, the Harvard Study of Adult Development found that relationships were more important to happiness than money or fame. There was a strong association between participants’ sense of flourishing and their relationships with friends, family, and community.
- Increased life satisfaction. A recent study found that people who set a goal to connect more with others — such as spending more time with friends and family — reported a greater boost in their life satisfaction when they met that goal than those who set individual goals such as staying healthy or quitting smoking.
- Better mental health. Membership in a group has been shown to protect against depression. And, for people who are depressed, joining a social group reduced their risk of depression relapse by 24%, while joining three groups reduced the risk by 63%.
- Improved ability to cope. People who have a strong support network are better able to cope in the event of unexpected life changes.
- Higher self-esteem. At every age across the life span, positive social relationships boost self-esteem. In fact, the relationship between self-esteem and social support creates a feedback loop: Social acceptance boosts self-esteem, which improves social acceptance.
- Quality of life. According to researchers, spending time with a greater variety of people leads older adults to enjoy higher activity levels as they leave the house to shop, walk and talk with others. This fosters a higher quality of life, leading to improved mood, fewer negative feelings and a less sedentary lifestyle, which in turn supports physical health and function.
Make Connections at Freedom Pointe at The Villages
In our lively and dynamic community, it’s easy to make the social connections that are so important for good health and happiness. Freedom Pointe at The Villages has Happy Hours and other social events, group fitness classes, game nights, volunteer opportunities, art workshops, and over 45 interest groups and clubs — all of which invite and encourage you to jump into the mix and make friends. What’s more, we’re a Life Plan Community, so residents know that if they have a health setback, they can get the support they need in this same community of friends.
Contact us to learn more about the vibrant lifestyle at Freedom Pointe at The Villages or to schedule a visit.