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Four Happy Results When Seniors Socialize

In its updated report on Older Adults Living Alone, authors Daniel B. Kaplan and Barbara J. Berkman found that 29 percent of the 46 million older adults in the U.S. live by themselves. Forty-six percent of women over 75 live alone, and 60 percent of all adults over 75 who live alone report feelings of loneliness and social isolation.

The effects of social isolation on older people can include depression, poor eating and medication management habits, decreased physical fitness and cognitive decline. Fortunately, regular social interaction makes a profound positive impact on these negative effects.

Active Intervention Required

Most older adults require some type of action to prevent the negative downward spiral that can occur with prolonged social isolation. For those who still drive and have few physical obstacles, the regular practice of “getting out and about and getting involved” can help cultivate a healthy lifestyle. Some volunteer, others get involved with grandchildren, pursue hobbies, join clubs and arrange regular social meetings with friends.

For those with mobility and medical limitations or cognitive decline, active intervention from family, friends or community resources can make a world of difference.

The key to combatting social isolation is to take action. Either the older person commits to undertake the diligent efforts required to achieve consistent social interaction on their own, or others must get involved to help them overcome the obstacles to socialization.

No matter how socializaton occurs, the payback in improved health and well-being is well worth the effort. Here are four key benefits of regular socialization:

  1. Improved Mood

Depression is a common condition among the elderly living alone. If depression persists for more than a few weeks, it can cause more problems than simply feeling sad. Research shows depression can double the risk of early death among patients with coronary heart disease. It also raises the risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. But the good news is that study after study show that consistent socialization not only improves mood, it also reduces the likelihood of depression, stress and cognitive decline.

  1. Improved Physical Health

People who live alone often spend little or no time on meal preparation, often resulting in poor overall health. For all of us, food represents more than nutrition. A good meal is often remembered less for the food served than by the conversations enjoyed. When the meal is a happy event, we eat better.

Socializing also promotes an active lifestyle, because it can lead to increased participation in events, outings and activities with others. Rewarding and fun activities encourage us to move our bodies, and increased physical activity can improve overall mobility while releasing health-promoting chemicals that boost the immune system, improve mood and ward off decline.

  1. Improved Brain Health

When we interact with others, our brain is engaged in receiving and sending information. This, in turn, encourages us to continue to respond to our environment and keep learning. A great conversation, a board game, or a group activity can help stimulate our curiosity and exercise the brain as we exchange new ideas, problem solve or share information. Studies show that regular brain exercise can lower the risk of cognitive decline. In short, regular social interaction helps keep memory and brain functioning stronger.

  1. Improved Sense of Purpose

No matter the age, we all have the ability to make a positive impact on others. A word of support when needed, a joke to make others laugh, an invitation to join in an activity — these simple, yet powerful actions can make others feel valued. Having something meaningful to do with friends helps us look forward to each day. Cultivating strong relationships with others also provides a sense of fulfillment and helps us see life as a joyful experience, filled with opportunities to give purpose and meaning to our existence.

Social isolation is one of the key reasons many chose to make the move to a senior living community. Once there, they appreciate the ease of making social connections by joining other residents at mealtimes, meeting up for outings and events, and participating in the wealth of activities offered.

In addition to the rewarding lifestyle, those living in retirement communities find themselves surprised to learn they often have more independence than ever before. Free from the chores of home maintenance, they have more time to spend with friends, engage in fun activities and explore new interests and hobbies.

At our core, human beings are social animals, so we need relationships with others as much as we require food and shelter to remain healthy. So no matter how you choose to socialize as you age, the benefits are well worth the efforts.

“Continuum of care” is a phrase that is getting more and more common in the senior living industry. Most of the companies that claim to offer a continuum of care cover most of the bases when it comes to senior living and health care, but The Legacy Senior Communities takes it even further. With The Legacy Senior Communities, we have created a true continuum of care, whether it’s for residents of The Legacy Willow Bend in Plano, The Legacy at Midtown Park being developed in Dallas or for clients of The Legacy at Home. What do we mean by a true continuum of care? Well, let’s take a look at what it means in general first, then how The Legacy Senior Communities goes above and beyond the competition.

When a senior living organization says that it offers a continuum of care, it means that at its communities, there are varying levels of medical care, and, to a certain degree, varying levels of independence. The levels of care usually follow a pretty typical progression. The first level of care is independent living, in which the residents require few – if any – medical accommodations. Living areas are often separated from the rest of the community to give residents more independence, as the name would suggest.

The next level of care is assisted living, in which the residents have more medical needs and often require assistance with certain daily tasks such as dressing, bathing, etc. Living accommodations in assisted living are typically more centralized when compared with independent living, as nurses and other staff need to interact with the residents on a daily basis.

Oftentimes, communities will also have memory care, also called memory support. Residents in memory care typically have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia that lead to things like memory loss, confusion and an inability to take care of themselves.

The next level is a long-term skilled nursing. At this level, most residents have limited mobility and require around-the-clock medical supervision.

In addition, The Legacy Willow Bend also offers short-term rehabilitation for those who require temporary medical care from licensed medical professionals in order to return to their prior level of function following an injury, illness or surgery.

There is one final component which is unique to The Legacy Senior Communities, and that is The Legacy at Home, our home health care offering. The Legacy at Home offers services such as private duty nursing, medication management and help with daily activities, in addition to services such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, and more. The Legacy at Home’s services can be employed at any level of care, from someone aging in place at home to someone in independent living at one of our residences. These services can greatly benefit seniors, allowing them to stay at their current level of living while receiving specialized services.

The main benefit of having all these levels of care in one place is that should a resident need to transition from one level to another, that person only has to move to a different part of the campus/property, rather than a new community altogether. Additionally, the Life Care plan offered at The Legacy Willow Bend gives current residents priority access to higher levels of care.

At The Legacy Willow Bend and the upcoming The Legacy at Midtown Park, all of these levels of care are available. Add to that the services offered by The Legacy at Home, and you have the true continuum of care that is unique to The Legacy Senior Communities.

“Continuum of care” is a phrase that is getting more and more common in the senior living industry. Most of the companies that claim to offer a continuum of care cover most of the bases when it comes to senior living and health care, but The Legacy Senior Communities takes it even further. With The Legacy Senior Communities, we have created a true continuum of care, whether it’s for residents of The Legacy Willow Bend in Plano, The Legacy at Midtown Park being developed in Dallas or for clients of The Legacy at Home. What do we mean by a true continuum of care? Well, let’s take a look at what it means in general first, then how The Legacy Senior Communities goes above and beyond the competition.

When a senior living organization says that it offers a continuum of care, it means that at its communities, there are varying levels of medical care, and, to a certain degree, varying levels of independence. The levels of care usually follow a pretty typical progression. The first level of care is independent living, in which the residents require few – if any – medical accommodations. Living areas are often separated from the rest of the community to give residents more independence, as the name would suggest.

The next level of care is assisted living, in which the residents have more medical needs and often require assistance with certain daily tasks such as dressing, bathing, etc. Living accommodations in assisted living are typically more centralized when compared with independent living, as nurses and other staff need to interact with the residents on a daily basis.

Oftentimes, communities will also have memory care, also called memory support. Residents in memory care typically have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia that lead to things like memory loss, confusion and an inability to take care of themselves.

The next level is a long-term skilled nursing. At this level, most residents have limited mobility and require around-the-clock medical supervision.

In addition, The Legacy Willow Bend also offers short-term rehabilitation for those who require temporary medical care from licensed medical professionals in order to return to their prior level of function following an injury, illness or surgery.

There is one final component which is unique to The Legacy Senior Communities, and that is The Legacy at Home, our home health care offering. The Legacy at Home offers services such as private duty nursing, medication management and help with daily activities, in addition to services such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, and more. The Legacy at Home’s services can be employed at any level of care, from someone aging in place at home to someone in independent living at one of our residences. These services can greatly benefit seniors, allowing them to stay at their current level of living while receiving specialized services.

The main benefit of having all these levels of care in one place is that should a resident need to transition from one level to another, that person only has to move to a different part of the campus/property, rather than a new community altogether. Additionally, the Life Care plan offered at The Legacy Willow Bend gives current residents priority access to higher levels of care.

At The Legacy Willow Bend and the upcoming The Legacy at Midtown Park, all of these levels of care are available. Add to that the services offered by The Legacy at Home, and you have the true continuum of care that is unique to The Legacy Senior Communities.

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