Why Social Activities for Seniors Improve Quality of Life at Assisted Living Communities

Giving a round of applause and laughter when his friend wins a game of Bingo.

Singing her favorite song with joy among peers and caregivers.

Moving to the beat at his favorite exercise class every Monday morning.

Moments like these are common at assisted living communities that provide seniors with a selection of fun, interesting, and engaging social activities.

Perhaps your loved one is living at home and is struggling with social isolation. And maybe you’re just beginning to consider how the activities for seniors at assisted living communities can help. Here’s what you need to realize…

Senior living social activities don’t simply fill your loved one’s calendar…they also provide a number of benefits.

Read on to discover three specific reasons why social activities improve your loved one’s quality of life at an assisted living community.

#1: Social Activities for Seniors Build Relationships among Residents and Caregivers

Making a move to assisted living communities involves a process of building new relationships and engaging in activities to become closer to fellow community members.

Social activities act as that necessary bridge for new members, particularly those that may be more introverted and need an easy “in” to new friendships and bonds.

Whether your loved one signs up for a book club or cooking class, these activities are perfect ways to meet others with similar interests.

Beyond fellow residents, social activities also act as a catalyst for relationship development with caregivers.

For example, at The Ashford, our caregivers are often involved in facilitating and encouraging social activities within the community.

This opportunity for engagement beyond assistance-based tasks only strengthens the caregiver-resident bond.

#2: Social Activities Improve Seniors’ Confidence Levels and Build Trust

The benefits of social activities for seniors extend beyond the increased opportunities for social engagement and relationship building.

These activities also provide a chance for residents to try new things and increase their confidence and trust in themselves and others.

As the saying goes, it’s truly never too late to try something new.

Maybe it’s seeing your father discover a new sense of joy out in the community garden.

Or perhaps it’s hearing your mother talk excitedly about her first watercolor painting class.

Whatever it may be, your loved one’s participation in these activities plays a big role in maintaining a healthy level of life satisfaction and happiness.

#3: Social Activities Act as Stress Relievers and Improve Overall Wellness

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Oftentimes, when seniors decrease their level of physical activity, their health will decline rapidly.

In fact, the BMJ Journal reports that “worldwide, around 3.2 million deaths per year are being attributed to inactivity.”

Understandably, for many people, the motivation to stay physically active can be hard to maintain alone.

That’s why group physical activities for seniors—such as light yoga classes, aerobics, and even gardening—are helpful and encouraging for many residents to stay active and fit.

Beyond physical health, these activities improve mental health and brain functioning in older adults.

Life Science describes how one study found that “U.S. adults ages 70 or older who engaged in mentally stimulating activities at least once or twice a week were less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment four years later, compared with those who did not engage in mentally stimulating activities as frequently.”

Based on these findings, it’s safe to say that with the reduced stress, improved brain functioning, and optimal physical ability, physical activity can greatly improve a senior’s overall life experience.

As the son or daughter of a senior, knowing that your loved one has numerous opportunities to stay engaged and healthy at his or her fingertips will give you peace of mind.

At The Ashford, our assisted living communities offer the chance to engage in social activity each and every day. From dining events to exercise programs, we help our residents stay socially engaged with each other.

To see our atmosphere for yourself, schedule a visit to one of our communities…or plan your visit in advance to The Ashford at Sturbridge, our newest community, which opens in late fall of 2018.

Have a Parent in a Rural Area? Beware of These 3 Senior Safety Risks

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

There are a variety of factors that influence senior safety.

From your loved one’s dietary choices to his or her sleep patterns, a number of variables will affect Mom or Dad’s mindset, way of thinking, and quality of life.

A big factor for your parent’s safety?

Don’t underestimate the importance of where your loved one lives.

For example, take a few moments to think about how the location where you reside—whether it be a rural, urban, or suburban environment—affects your daily life.

Although younger people may experience an improved quality of life by escaping the big cities and moving out to the countryside, this is often not the case for senior citizens.

Living in a rural environment drastically affects a senior’s safety and quality of life–and it’s often not in a positive sense.

In this post, we’ll dive into three reasons why rural living can increase senior safety risks and how making the move to a senior living community can make a world of difference.

Senior Safety Concern #1: Decreased Access to Medical Support

To put it simply, rural areas are less equipped to deal with large and small medical emergencies.

As one New York Times article puts it, “medical care is accessible in some places, absent in others, and cellphone service can be unreliable.”

With approximately 25% of Americans older than age 65 living in small towns or other rural areas, this dynamic presents our country with a worrisome dilemma.

However, the downside to rural living for seniors doesn’t simply stop at medical safety concerns.

In addition to a lack of access to medical facilities and personnel, there’s generally less access to resources needed for daily life…

Senior Safety Concern #2: Less Access to Caregivers

As seniors age, tasks that used to come easy become more challenging.

In fact, senior safety risks can come from relatively simple tasks. For instance…

If the closest grocery store entails driving for a half hour or more or the nearest technician or plumber is based several towns away, getting things done or fixed isn’t going to be easy. Rather than asking for help, your loved one may undertake tasks alone…and risk a fall or accident.

You may think that hiring a caregiver to assist your loved one at home is the ideal solution to this problem.

However, a 2017 study by Population Health Management explains that with the “migration of younger individuals to cities for career and social opportunities,” there’s now a “smaller pool of potential caregivers” in these more rural areas.

Even if you do find a caregiver for your loved one, when it comes to social engagement, the solution pales in comparison to living in a community of other senior individuals.

Which brings us to our next point…

Senior Safety Concern #3: Higher Cases of Senior Isolation and Loneliness

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In the Population Health Management study, researchers found that, in addition to the food insecurity, mobility challenges and chronic health conditions that come along with rural living, the resulting social isolation is also a challenge.

Unfortunately, isolation and loneliness in seniors affects more than their psyche.

As we shared in our post 4 Facts about Senior Isolation That Will Surprise You, seniors who experience loneliness are more likely to develop dementia and other conditions, as well as engage in unhealthy behaviors such as a poor diet and smoking.

Fortunately, senior living communities can address all three of these safety concerns and serve as an ideal solution for many seniors in rural areas.

How a Senior Living Community Can Make a Difference

As the Population Health Management study puts it, “Today, healthy aging is not just about living longer but about living better.”

Even if your loved one tells you he or she is fine staying put in a rural environment, your parent may not realize how much his or her quality of life will improve by moving to a senior living community.

These communities not only provide easy access to resources and assistance in daily tasks, but there are also numerous opportunities for daily social interaction.

Making the move sooner rather than later is your better option as waiting until an accident has happened isn’t an ideal strategy.

At The Ashford, we offer several assisted living communities for your loved one, including a new property opening in the quaint town of Hilliard, Ohio—The Ashford at Sturbridge.

Schedule a tour today to see how one of our communities can improve your parent’s safety, security, and overall well-being!