Senior Social Skills: How a Sense of Community Benefits Seniors

In a senior living community, senior friendships not only make each day richer and more enjoyable, they’re actually beneficial for both your emotional and physical health. 

It’s an important point to consider when you are contemplating whether moving to a senior living community is right for you. Instead of focusing on the uncertainty of change or what you might be giving up, think of what you’ll gain:  warm and welcoming companionship that could extend your life.

Community benefits seniors:  It’s good for you!

Loneliness has been linked to a higher risk of cognitive decline, dementia and depression. It also has been linked to heart disease, stroke and blood pressure. In fact, The AARP Foundation and United Health Foundation have reported that a lack of social connections is as damaging to a person’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

The remedy:  building a circle of friends, people who are supportive and share your interests. What better setting than a senior living community? It’s a perfect opportunity for meeting new people and establishing relationships based on shared experiences. Having someone close by to talk to, seeing a friendly face in the dining room, taking a walk every morning with a neighbor…it’s easier in a lifestyle that inspires interaction and engagement. Even better are the health benefits of being social. 

Studies have found socializing can:

  • strengthen the immune system
  • speed up recovery from illness
  • lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease
  • sharpen memory 
  • improve sleep
  • reduce risk of unhealthy body mass index (BMI) 

Socializing can also improve the odds of living longer. According to a study by PLOS Medicine, people with strong connections to family and friends have a 50% greater chance of outliving those with fewer social ties.

Community friendships help seniors cope with life challenges.

In a senior living community, residents often find themselves dealing with changes due to aging that can be upsetting. Losing a spouse, health problems, retirement, frustration about family matters—all things that can be difficult to process alone. Community senior friendships make this easier, helping each person celebrate good times as well as provide support for others during bad times. Having friends can:

  • increase your sense of belonging and purpose
  • boost your happiness and reduce your stress
  • improve your self-confidence and self-worth
  • help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one
  • encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise

A great way to make friends when making friends isn’t always easy.

Common life changes such as the loss of a spouse, loss of hearing or vision, retirement, and issues with health and mobility can take their toll on your social life and, by extension, your well-being. That’s another reason why living in a senior living community is so beneficial:  the opportunity for friendships abounds. 

Community senior friendships can help keep you on track. 

Whether it’s a pal reminding you of the need for a regular medical exam or screening, or a neighbor joining you in a chair fitness class, fellow residents in a senior living community are great motivators for wellness. Everything—even exercising—is more fun with a friend!   

What to look for in a community when you want to be more social.

When considering a senior living community, check out the common areas. Are there lots of places to gather and socialize?  Walk through the fitness center. Sit in the lobby. Check out the social calendar for activities, outings,classes, parties or other events where you can easily meet people. You also want to be in a community with a friendly and engaging staff. Also, ask about the use of technology such as Skype or Facetime so you can stay connected with friends and family. And don’t forget to check out the Facebook page—it’s a great way to see what’s going on.

New friendships are waiting for you at Senior Star.

At Senior Star Senior Living, our communities are filled with love and laughter—just like our people! Just another reason why deciding to make the move might be the best choice you’ve ever made. Having a hard time deciding if now is the right time for you to move?  Download our Stay or Go Guide or Contact us today.