Many older adults want to stay in their house as long as possible. There is an assumption that staying in your home means you are independent, but the reality is it can often lead to loneliness and isolation. The health effects of long-term isolation are measurable and include chronic health conditions, depression, anxiety, dementia and even premature death. One study reported the negative health effects of long-term isolation are equal to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Loneliness is on the rise overall. Older adults who are most at risk are often:
- living alone
- living with untreated hearing loss
- living with mobility impairments
- no longer driving or have limited access to transportation
- recently experienced the loss of a spouse, friend or partner
- taking care of a spouse
The best remedy for loneliness is staying connected. Interacting with others, and staying socially engaged with friends and your community can help fight loneliness and the health risks that are associated with isolation.
How can a move to Senior Living help fight loneliness?
An apartment setting provides the best of both worlds – enjoy the freedom to do what you want and when you want, knowing there are always options available for social activities. When people move into a senior living community, they often tell us, “I wish I would have moved sooner.” And their family members tell us, “We’ve seen our loved one blossom in the last few months!”
- Senior living brings people together. Coffee socials, happy hours, and even chatting over lunch helps to grow those meaningful relationships that increase health and longevity.
- Senior living provides opportunities for purposeful engagement in daily life. Our residents like to volunteer, help out their neighbors, and share interests with friends.
- Senior living apartments usually have physical fitness facilities and exercise classes to participate in. They may even offer discounts or rides to local senior centers or health clubs.
- Senior communities often provide educational opportunities for lifelong learning. They usually have book or travel clubs, bring in speakers, or host community education in their common rooms.
We invite you to visit The Fields of Arbor Glen to experience how maintenance-free living can help simplify your life, while also providing the social interactions needed to maintain health & happiness. Talk with our residents to hear how their lives have changed for the better after moving to senior living.
For more information about loneliness and isolation, the AARP Foundation offers its online resource Connect2Affect. There you can find a self-assessment to determine your risk factors and tips on how to stay connected. Resources that informed this article include Government’s Role in Fighting Loneliness by Emily Holland, as published in the Wall Street Journal, and the Blue Zones Power 9 ® by Dan Buettner.