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Health Benefits of Social Connection

“But you got to have friends the feeling’s of so strong.
You got to have friends to make the day last long.”
– Bette Midler, “Friends”

Turns out, there’s something to those lyrics that are highly relevant to today’s retirees. The day does last longer, so to speak, when seniors develop social bonds with their peers.

It’s common sense but also backed up by studies like the one that followed seniors in Alameda County, California over a period of nearly 20 years. Researchers found that such social ties had a significant impact on lowering the mortality rate, regardless of other factors that might normally be blamed.

At Regency Retirement Village in Birmingham, our residents get the health benefits of social connections

What kind of social interactions for seniors are we talking about?

Friendships formed from bonding over things they have in common, such as a fondness for a particular musical artist from an earlier time or a shared hobby like gardening. These interests forge opportunities for discussion and collaboration.

At Regency, our residents enjoy the independence to have a thriving social life in a setting with scheduled activities, combined with the security of others nearby, including skilled medical personnel. These ingredients fight boredom and encourage emotional catharsis.

Although a senior looking at a move from a longtime home to Assisted Living may do so with a little dread, most of our residents make fast friends with others and end up wishing they’d made the transition sooner in their elder stage of life.

The alternative may be sitting alone in a house full of vacant rooms, the television serving as one’s main companionship, save the occasional visit from a family member, church friend, or a paid caregiver stopping by to check on them. There’s also the worry that a senior may slip and fall with no one around to help them. With Assisted Living, help awaits around every corner.

With Assisted Living, the senior can let other people handle the laundry, the cooking, keeping the lawn trimmed, etc. They can focus on what matters most at this time of life: Enjoying the simple things to the fullest. That includes social activities.

Spirituality matters greatly in the Bible Belt, especially for seniors. Church services and visitations make our senior living community a literal “Godsend” to those people of faith living with us. Singing hymns and listening to the word of God inspires fellowship that goes beyond the church service.

Mealtime at Regency Retirement Village brings everyone together for nutrition of the body – and the spirit. Our staff may even encourage two people who have a lot of common to sit together in hopes of sparking a pair who will “get along famously” as the saying goes. Sometimes the most unlikely companions end up hitting it off.

Exercise time typically encourages some form of play or moving bodies in unison.

Play and creativity factor into arts and crafts projects while encouraging participation in seasonal festivities. For example, decorating the doors of apartments before Halloween or Christmas to greet visiting Trick or Treaters or roaming carolers.

Copyright: stylephotographs / 123RF Stock Photo

Written by Steven Stiefel