Living in a Senior Community Guards Against Loneliness

You’ve heard us talk about how a retirement community improves social engagement, thereby improving the quality of life.  According to a CBS study of retirement facility residents, “Men and women over 90 are the fastest growing segment of the population.” Watch a preview of the report below:

We counsel many older adults and their families about finding the right living situation to maintain a high quality of life. When families begin to explore senior living communities, most often some sort of event triggered their interest. They may be recovering from the death of their spouse. Others have determined that they can no longer drive and living on their own has become difficult. Still others have had a change in health and may require some level of care each day. Families learn that a key benefit of living in a senior community is that the lifestyle can guard against a serious health issue for older adults that does shorten life – loneliness. 

Read on to learn how living in a senior community guards against loneliness.

Living in a Senior Community Guards Against Loneliness 


The impact of loneliness is significant. A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that older adults who reported being lonely were more likely to suffer a decline in health or die over the six-year study period. Those seniors who reported that they were lonely had a 59% greater risk of suffering a decline in function - becoming less mobile or less able to care for themselves. 23% died over the course of the study compared to 14% of those who reported that they were not lonely. This was the first study to look at loneliness, separate from depression. 

Loneliness does not mean living alone. Almost two-thirds of seniors who reported feeling lonely were married or living with a partner. Feeling left out, isolated or experiencing limited companionship is a common challenge of aging. Old friends may have moved away or died. Seniors who no longer drive hesitate to “bother” their children for transportation. It can be difficult to connect to their children and their grandchildren for many reasons. Generational differences can he hard to bridge in some families. The schedules of young, active families easily conflict with a grandparent’s preference for activity during the day versus in the evening.

Another key finding from the study is that seniors benefit from social engagement, especially with others of their own generation. 

We have many stories of older adults, who after moving into one of our communities actually became more independent and active. New friendships are forged. With no home to look after, it is easy to try new activities or devote more time to a lifelong interest. Onsite classes, exercise programs and informal gatherings, together with periodic trips to baseball games, movies or theatre can fill up a person’s schedule pretty quickly. This is a key benefit of living in a senior community: plenty to do and always someone to do it with.

Of course, some older adults are able to take charge of their social lives and remain active long into their 80s or 90s regardless of where they live. People like Lester Voge, who at age 96 developed a board game. At any age, an active lifestyle can distract us from things in our lives that might not be ideal. As we get older, staying active with others helps us focus on what we can do, rather than on our limitations. 

Want to learn more about how staying socially engaged will help your loved one live longer? Click below for a free guide.