Humans are social beings by nature! We love connecting with and interacting with one another, building relationships from brief acquaintances to lifelong partners.
Loneliness has become quite prevalent in our society — so prevalent that the United States Surgeon General even declared loneliness and isolation an epidemic, with profound impacts on our health and well-being.
Despite the desire for connection, more than one in four seniors live alone and suffer the negative effects of isolation. Living alone without a social support system increases the risk of dementia by 50%, as memories are closely tied to relationships. Loneliness can also lead to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and many mental health disorders in older adults.
Benefits of a Healthy Social Life as We Age
Socialization benefits for seniors go beyond avoiding the negative impact of isolation. A healthy social life helps seniors to live a more positive, meaningful life. Older adults with close friendships and relationships feel a strong sense of belonging as they stay connected with those around them. It can increase their self-esteem and allow them to feel wanted and liked by others, especially as many seniors experience the opposite due to prejudices around aging.
A healthy social life also gives people built-in accountability. A senior living resident who is feeling depressed or lonely is more likely to skip community meals or miss their favorite fitness class at the gym. But when they have friends who attend these activities with them and look out for them, they’re less likely to miss out. Even if the presence of friends isn’t enough to encourage them to get out and socialize, a friend will know when to knock on their door and coax them out of their apartment for a while.
How Companionship in a Senior Living Community Can Help
While it is possible to maintain a healthy social life when aging at home, particularly if seniors are living with family, having a community of peers gets increasingly difficult as we age. Social circles naturally grow smaller, and the ability to go out and about independently often decreases as well. This is where senior living communities come into play.
A senior living community isn’t just about meeting physical or medical needs. In fact, many of our independent living residents at St. Anthony’s can live unassisted without much extra support! Senior living is meant to meet needs holistically: physically, mentally, spiritually, medically, and socially.
Moving into a senior living community instantly surrounds you with peers who are just as eager to build friendships and get to know their fellow residents. Senior living provides companionship on an individual level and a group level, whether it be with our loving staff or with other seniors (usually both). This is why we believe senior living gives older adults the highest quality of life regardless of their specific care needs.
How St. Anthony’s Encourages Socialization
While communities naturally form within a thriving senior living community like St. Anthony’s, we’ve made it our goal to cultivate and encourage socialization as much as possible so no resident ever feels left out! Here are a few ways we invite our residents to stay social and engage with each other:
1. Daily Happy Hours
Independent living residents love attending our daily happy hours following Mass each afternoon. At happy hour, residents get to enjoy a glass of wine and spend time with one another in whatever capacity they choose. This can mean breaking out a board game to play together, singing songs, telling stories, or discussing the afternoon Mass — the choice is theirs! We provide the setting and the cocktails, and our residents do the rest. Cheers!
For residents who are new to senior living, happy hour is the perfect time to meet other residents and start building social connections. We always encourage brand-new residents to attend so they can start forming bonds and friendships with others right away and resist the temptation to stay in their spacious new apartments all day.
2. Social Clubs
What better way to build friendships than over a shared interest? At St. Anthony’s, our resident-driven clubs create fun spaces for residents to get to know each other while keeping up with their favorite hobbies. Some clubs that have been started over the years include:
- “Stitch by Stitch” Sewing Club
- Painting or other arts and crafts
- Bible studies or read-along book clubs
- Bridge group
If you’re considering joining the St. Anthony’s community, or are already enjoying senior living but don’t see your preferred interest on the list of examples above, we’d love to invite you to start a club! Our staff can help launch your preferred club, so let us know how we can support you in getting your own social club up and running.
3. Our Calendar of Activities
We don’t want our residents to miss out on a social event they would enjoy, which is why every month we publish activities calendars to share the daily schedules of events for each of our senior living experiences. Our hope with the activity calendars is to empower residents of all abilities to live a life they love with a schedule they choose.
This flexibility is especially important for memory care residents, for whom a regimented schedule may not be as ideal. While routine and stability are beneficial for memory retention, loss of autonomy is not, so we seek to give each individual memory care resident the ability to structure a schedule that works best for them while keeping them engaged and social.
Are you looking for a way out of isolation for yourself or a loved one? We would be so honored to welcome you to the St. Anthony’s family and support the growth of your social circle. Contact us to schedule a tour!