Safety is one of the primary reasons people look at an Assisted Living/Memory Care community for their aging parents. It’s also a big reason seniors consider moving to an Assisted Living community. However, one of the most rewarding benefits of an Assisted Living community is the mental health boost of living around and engaging with other people. There is a proven link between socialization and mental and physical health.
Physicians and psychologists acknowledge that isolation contributes to depression and a host of other problems. Especially as many seniors in Assisted Livings have lost a spouse, a residential care community can provide a meaningful way for residents to meet new friends and enjoy important social interaction. Just a few benefits of how socialization contributes to better health include:
- Contributes to disease prevention
- Social networks contribute to better cognition, which can help protect from dementia
- Reduces stress and depression
- Exercise classes provide camaraderie, which makes exercise more enjoyable, so they will continue to maintain strength and mobility
- Even improves mortality rates
Have you noticed any of the following signs in your loved one that may indicate a need for greater oversight that a communal setting can offer?
- Not eating well — Does your loved one forget to eat? Are they unable to cook? Do they opt for less than nutritious meals?
- Not socializing — In most situations, your loved one prefers to be engaged with others and be part of the inner action within a community.
- Lack of exercise — Have they lost muscle control and strength, contributing to balance issues?
- Confusion or cognition decline
- Speech changes
- Health decline
The ability to have concerted oversight of a loved one’s care, including the coordinated communication of a team of physicians, geriatric-psych practitioners, and home health providers, can provide immense peace of mind for both family members and their loved one/s. Residents of Assisted Living communities also receive balanced nutrition, encouragement to eat regularly, and monitoring to stay hydrated.
Be aware of the needs that might suggest it is time to provide your loved one the extra support that a communal setting can provide as you continue to notice changes. When you are ready to take that step, it is essential to choose an Assisted Living community that places a high value on nurturing socialization and community activities to keep your loved one engaged.