If you’ve been struggling to convince your parents it might be time for assisted living (or if you’ve putting off the unpleasant conversation), you’re not alone. Assisted living suffers from plenty of misinformation, and despite the reasons you may have for why your parents need assisted living, have you considered how assisted living can actually improve happiness in seniors?
Researchers have long recognized the importance of social relationships on both our physical and mental wellbeing – the more socially connected we are, the happier we are and the longer we tend to live. That social connection could be one of the most important things an assisted living community can provide. In addition to help with daily tasks and medical care as needed, assisted living communities are also one of the best ways senior citizens can stay connected to the world around them.
Staying connected gets increasingly difficult as we get older. Friends and family members pass on; our kids grow up, move out and get their own lives; and staying home rather than going to an office every day means a significant decrease in social interaction. On top of all that, if we get sick or injured, we’re even more likely to stay home, which further inhibits social interaction. Going out gets harder as we age, and if we live alone, the days between visits from friends and family member can appear to grow longer and longer.
While visits from the outside community are always encouraged in assisted living, residents are not dependent on them for their social lives. Not only are they surrounded by people in their age group (many of whom are have similar experiences as they age), but assisted living communities consistently provide several recreational and social activities to encourage residents to get out of their rooms (or even out of the building, if they’re able) and mingle.
It is often by participating in the activities we enjoy most that we end up meeting the people who come to mean the most to us. Spending time with people who enjoy the same things we do is a necessary component of our mental and physical wellbeing. By providing a wide range of activities for their residents to participate in, assisted living communities help bring together people who might not otherwise meet.
What makes it even better is the fact that these interactions can continue long after the program has ended. Sharing an activity with another person is not just a great ice breaker, it can also help create a bond that lasts for the rest of their lives. There are few things more satisfying than turning to someone and saying, “Do you remember that time we …?” and having them remember and be able to commiserate with you over that memory.
Once people get over the initial stress of moving into an assisted living community, they’re more likely to report higher levels of happiness and a greater sense of belonging than they felt before they moved in. The bonds formed in assisted living can then help them live longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives than they would have had if they had insisted on continuing to live on their own.
Moving into assisted living is not giving up on life. It’s the beginning of a whole new chapter.
Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.
CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.