The past few years have certainly been a challenge for people of all ages in terms of staying socially connected. However, even as life begins to return to “normal”, certain cohorts – such as older Australians – can find it difficult to maintain social connections and stave off loneliness. Research shows that most Australians, regardless of age, are likely to experience loneliness at some point in their lives. There are some factors that increase risk of social isolation and loneliness and these include the loss of a spouse, hearing loss, and feeling as if life lacks purpose.
However, connection is key for pushing back against these factors, which is where the right aged care residence can be ideal for preventing loneliness for seniors. The benefits of aged care for seniors can be significant and are even more necessary if people have underlying health problems such as dementia or mobility issues, which can exacerbate feelings of disconnection. In fact, the opportunities for connection in aged care residences can transform lives, welcoming people into a supportive, friendly community.
Benefits of social connection
For people who feel connected to others in their environment, the benefits are many. Studies have shown that people who feel supported socially:
- Experience lower rates of depression and anxiety
- Experience a decreased risk of cognitive decline
- Experience higher quality of sleep
- Have better memory and focus
- Are more resilient to adverse or stressful events
- Have a greater sense of self-esteem and purpose
- Live longer
Undeniably, fostering social inclusion is a worthwhile exercise. In aged care, scheduled and shared activities mean that seniors can easily be introduced to group settings. They can feel like they are a part of something bigger, and the consistency gives them something to look forward to.
Transport and mobility
One of the biggest barriers to older adults participating in their local community is a lack of access to transport, coupled with mobility impairment due to health issues. However, in a quality aged care community this barrier is easily overcome. Aged care communities ensure that residents have access to transport to attend outings and provide carers that are always available to assist residents with their particular mobility needs. Having plenty of activities on-site also helps residents to enjoy social experiences without needing to travel.
Making time to socialise
A large part of successfully staying connected to others socially is taking opportunities to interact when they come along. For those living in an aged care community, regular activities and social groups are a major part of every week and keep social isolation at bay. Lifestyle coordinators ensure that there are plenty of opportunities for residents to meet up and spend time together – from church services to bingo games, art therapy to exercise groups, aged care communities support their residents to be involved with others in a range of enjoyable ways.
Looking good, feeling better
Knowing that we don’t look our best can affect our confidence and in turn, our desire to spend time with others. When we are looking good and feeling fresh, it’s far easier to find the motivation to get out of our comfort zones. Many aged care communities include on-site hairdressing salons, so that residents can look good, feel great, and have the confidence to join in the social side of life. Not only that, but the conversations that happen at the hairdressers are often priceless!
Friendly faces, social spaces
It’s much easier to get out of the house when your local environment is accessible and comfortable. In addition, getting out of the house is a great way to increase your chances of bumping into someone to chat to. Quality aged care communities are set in scenic, idyllic locations that are the perfect place for a stroll, or to sit and enjoy the sunshine with some friends. They often offer a range of comfortable communal spaces, such as organized happy hours so residents can spend time catching up and enjoying being together.
Spending time with others and enjoying social connection is so important for maintaining physical and mental health as we age. This is one of the great benefits of aged care for seniors, as they connect their residents socially every day, preventing loneliness and social isolation.
TriCare Aged Care communities are perfectly equipped to ensure that our residents can keep enjoying the social side of life in a place where they feel genuine belonging. Book a tour today to experience the warm TriCare welcome!