We often hear how important socialization is for small children so they can learn to function in the real world. However, as we grow older, we may forget how vital friends are to our happiness and mental health. Too often, after their departure from the job force or the death of a spouse, seniors are left without a friend in the world. This can result in a rapid and dramatic decline in mental health. By promoting socialization among aging adults, retirement communities can improve their quality of life, make for happier, healthier residents.
How Does Socialization Benefit Aging Individuals?
Humans are a social species. We thrive on the energy and companionship of the group. However, aging individuals tend to fall into loneliness for a variety of reasons. Workplaces are a huge source of socialization, but seniors lose that benefit when they retire. Friends and loved ones pass away as time goes on, leading to even more isolation. Children grow up, move away and have lives of their own, often resulting in parents being left alone. Suddenly, aging individuals are faced with having to make friends all over again, and, too often, it’s tempting to just skip the hassle and commit to a hermit lifestyle. When older adults don’t socialize, though, they may be harming their mental health.
Socialization promotes confidence and self-esteem because it allows older adults to re-engage in a group dynamic. These groups give each adult a place to be themselves, interact and belong. Making friends with other retirement living residents offers the chance for seniors to practice their social abilities such as speech and physical activity, as well as promoting learning. Learning to use a computer or how to play a new game is easier with friends and keeps the mind sharper.
The improvement in self-esteem one experiences as a result of making friends can even help ward off mental and physical illnesses! “Happiness” hormones help the body resist the development of everything from dementia to heart disease, ensuring those with friends live a longer, happier life than those without.
What Can Seniors Do to Become Socialized?
The benefits of socialization among aging adults is apparent, but how do they go about making those friends? Luckily, retirement communities make it easy to organically meet new friends because they serve individuals of the same generation in similar stages of life, allowing for a more natural connection to develop at mealtimes or during a community party.
If your loved one wants to go out and be active, independent living communities offer numerous group activities to promote socialization. Your loved one can join a knitting group, bridge club or fitness class to meet other older adults with similar interests. Adults can also meet new friends while volunteering or furthering their education at a local college class. There are myriad ways an aging individual can spread their wings and make new friends when they move into a retirement community.
Retirement Community in Burlington, NC
People who make the move to a retirement community quickly understand the transition is not about what you give up, but what you gain. Twin Lakes Community is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) that provides a setting that allows people to live an intentional life filled with purpose; neighborhoods filled with engaged people living life as they choose; where people of all types thrive. And, should the need for temporary or permanent higher care arise, Twin Lakes provides security and peace of mind through assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care located on our campus. Contact us online or call 336-538-1572 to schedule a tour.