When we we counsel many older adults and their families on finding the right living situation, many are happy to learn that living in a senior community fights 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
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.
An active lifestyle
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.