At its core, Sagora Senior Living is about helping people enjoy retirement with style and dignity. We believe in a “resident-first” philosophy and create environments that foster community and connection for seniors. As people age, the importance of community and connection becomes exceedingly important but can be challenging to find. Moving into the holiday season, the need for connection and a village becomes even more important!
There’s no shortage of challenges seniors face when it comes to staying connected to the larger community. From diminished mobility and lack of transportation options to the inevitable loss of family and friends in their social circle, it can be difficult to maintain a strong base of human relationships and a wide sense of community. But these aspects of a senior’s life are critical to healthy aging and the capacity to thrive.
For a multitude of reasons, as people age it is common to feel as though your social circles are shrinking. Some factors that contribute to this are retirement, living alone, lower energy levels and/or mobility issues, grown children who live elsewhere, or social distancing measures necessitated by illness. On average, older adults are at a higher risk for loneliness and social isolation.
Knowing this is a challenge for seniors, it’s important to understand how loneliness and social isolation can impact seniors and what you can do to combat it. Social isolation does much more than affect your mood. In fact, there’s a large volume of research connecting social isolation to a long list of health issues. One study by the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) found that seniors who experience prolonged social isolation are at significantly higher risk for dementia, heart disease, stroke, and death. Considering these findings, social support and community involvement aren’t luxuries for seniors. Rather, they’re an integral part of the healthy, independent aging process. Having a social community has been associated with better health outcomes, higher levels of activity, and more positive moods for older adults. On top of that, having a social network can also provide seniors with a sense of purpose and a support network in the event of loss or health issues.
Many senior living communities, such as Sagora Senior Living, offer opportunities for seniors to socialize with their peers. However, help for isolated seniors who have chosen to age in place can be trickier. Below are a few ideas on how older adults can stay connected:
- Join a hobby or interest group
- Sign up for group fitness classes, or find a walking buddy
- Attend community events, such as religious services, farmers’ markets, or public concerts
- Spend time at community centers
- Take advantage of senior meal services (both in-person and delivered)
While it is a bit more difficult for isolated seniors to engage, connect, and feel like they are part of a community – it is possible. Especially if there is someone in their life that can call and check in on them.
For individuals living in a retirement community, it is much easier to find your tribe and individuals to form connections. When talking about the role community plays in the life of a senior, it’s clear that the impacts are undeniably profound. And one of the most obvious and effective ways to foster and sustain a strong sense of community is through the choice of residence. If you or the senior in your life could benefit from a more supportive “village,” it may be time to consider the advantages of a senior living community.
In so many respects, this type of living creates the ultimate sense of community because it’s based on the very concept of living near others. From neighbors and friends to staff and volunteers, there’s immense opportunity for human contact on a range of levels. It’s the place where seniors can garner a feeling of belonging and comfort simply by living among other residents and interacting with the people around them.
This is a stark contrast to seniors who live at home, feeling lonely and waiting around for busy family members to call or visit. If you or your aging loved one is limited in mobility or otherwise unable to get out and meet new people, there’s a serious risk of mental and physical decline. It’s just not as easy to nurture friendships, make connections and connect to the community, which can create a perfect storm for isolation, depression, and a severely diminished quality of life.
Community living and personal independence go hand-in-hand, however counterintuitive that might seem. It works something like this: The ongoing availability of community and social interaction cultivates mental and physical health, which in turn enables seniors to live more independently (as opposed to requiring increased assistance with daily routines and activities). Essentially, it’s about living life more independently as a result of living among a community that helps you thrive.
And for those willing to embrace the kind of assistance and support that comes with living in a senior living community, they find that opening themselves up to outside help gives them greater energy and enthusiasm for living an enriched and purposeful life—the very essence of independence. With a customized care plan that’s uniquely designed to promote independence, seniors not only maintain dignity and usefulness but also thrive in ways they might never have imagined.
To be clear, senior living doesn’t mean you have to be around people all the time. When you require time and space for yourself, it’s there for the taking. But the larger community still exists, and it’s available for social interaction, human connection, and a sense of purpose when those needs must be met.
Communities like Sagora Senior Living play a vital role in creating environments that foster community and connection for seniors. We provide indispensable community support that seniors who seek to truly thrive can rely on. And it’s all within reach for you or the senior in your life. We are proud to play a vital role in helping seniors live longer and the best life possible. With 62 communities in 12 different states, Sagora Senior Living offers seniors the chance to live in active, social communities where they can thrive on a daily basis.
To find out more, tour your local Sagora Senior Living community!