Socializing in a retirement community can improve quality of life

From organizing a community-wide movie night to playing bridge every Tuesday with friends, there are a number of ways seniors can engage in social activity while living in an elderly care home. Transitioning to a new home can be difficult at first, but joining clubs, participating in senior events and making friends around the retirement village are great ways to improve not only a senior’s mental health, but physical health as well.

Delayed memory problems
Seniors who have an active social life may have improved memory care, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Researchers studied the social lives of adults over the age of 50 and how frequent interaction with friends and family affected their cognitive abilities. They concluded that social interaction had the ability to delay memory loss in the elderly, theorizing that the increased brain functioning that occurred during social time kept the brain healthy and active. Lisa F. Berkman, senior author of the study and director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, told the New York Times that socialization among seniors keeps the brain mentally engaged, which may prevent cognitive decline.

“You can’t sit and withdraw if you’re constantly talking and working on things and figuring out problems in your daily life,” Berkman said to the source. “It’s about being completely engaged and participating in our society.”

Socializing can combat depression
Depression can have a number of adverse effects on a person’s health. Seniors living in a retirement village who are experiencing feelings of sadness or depression may benefit from interacting with their peers. The Annals of Family Medicine published a study in which seniors over the age of 75 who were suffering from depression received weekly visits over the course of six months. Researchers concluded that older adults who received these social callers reported improved moods and quality of life over the course of the program and in the 12 months following.

Individuals in the senior community have the opportunity to engage with peers their own age, participating in social support networks that have the potential to improve moods and combat feelings of loneliness.

Better eating habits
When seniors sit down to eat with fellow community members from their nursing home, they have a greater chance of eating more food, according to a study. Researchers at the Université de Montréal found a link between the amount of food seniors eat and the number of social interactions they have, concluding that seniors who sat down with friends to eat were more likely to consume greater quantities of food. Additionally, they concluded that seniors who had engaged in more social activities were both healthier and livelier. Since malnutrition is an important issue facing those in elder care, this research may be able to help individuals with this condition.

Ways in which seniors can socialize
There are a number of methods by which individuals can interact with others living in their senior community. Adults who have similar interests can form organizations or clubs to speak about favorite topics. These include book clubs, movie watching groups and appreciation societies. Additionally, seniors who participate in the same hobbies, such as knitting, chess or puzzles, can congregate to engage in their shared interests.

Retirement communities frequently offer social events for seniors in an attempt to connect new residents with pre-existing ones. These senior events are a great way to learn about people living in surrounding homes who are looking for friends with whom to pass the time. Additionally, residents can create a network of seniors in the area who share similar goals or interests and who may prove to be invaluable additions to one’s life.