The Importance of Community for Seniors

man walking with child

The Importance of Community for Seniors

Friday, March 15, 2024

The Importance of Connection

For many people, isolation increases with age. One in four Baby Boomers will likely end up living alone, leading to 19 million isolated seniors, and this isolation is unhealthy. People who do not interact with others regularly are more likely to suffer from depression, and they are at higher risk of health issues like high blood pressure. Maintaining an active, independent lifestyle with regular social interaction is beneficial to older people, whether they’re introverts or extroverts. Here are some facts about how being part of a community can boost a person’s physical health, emotional well-being, and ability to live independently. 

Benefits of a Strong Community

Staying socially involved and engaged, as a member of a community, provides many benefits. 

  • When you are socially active, you are more likely to be physically active. Seniors who have active social lives are more likely to leave their houses and interact with people. This often involves physical activity, as older people who see friends and family members regularly try to keep up with what their loved ones are doing. Being physically active improves your overall health, protecting against conditions like osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancer. 
  • Social interaction can help protect against mental illness. Social activities keep the brain active and improve emotional well-being. This helps to reduce the risk of mental illnesses common in older age, like depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Interacting with other people is a type of exercise for the brain, and this exercise can benefit brain function. The sense of belonging that comes from being socially engaged can boost self-esteem, and people who have strong social bonds are more likely to seek help if they do begin to experience mental health issues. 
  • Your immune system gets a boost from social connection. Your mind and body benefit from interaction with other people, and this strengthens the immune system. This means that people who are engaged socially will be better able to fight colds, flu, and other ailments. What’s more, interacting with others can lead to healthy habits like taking walks, joining exercise classes, or eating healthy meals together, and this is beneficial. 
  • When you connect with others, it improves your outlook on life. Getting out of the house, making new friends, and talking to people can take some effort, but it is worth it for the increased happiness and positive mindset it provides. Connecting with people who have similar interests and hobbies can help you feel a sense of belonging and purpose. 
  • People who regularly interact with others tend to live longer. Nothing can guarantee you a long life. However, there is research to indicate that people who engage in regular social interaction are more likely to have long lifespans, living past the age of 90. People who are less engaged and more isolated do not typically live as long, perhaps because of the ways in which social interaction improves physical and mental health. 
  • Remaining socially active improves cognitive health. According to research published by AARP, social interaction can help ward off Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, keeping people mentally sharp. Even the simplest exchange between people stimulates the brain, and those with a large social group cut the risk of dementia even further. 

How to Stay Socially Engaged

It is clear that social connection should be a priority, but how can you achieve this engagement as an older person? Often, seniors struggle to avoid isolation, especially if they are retired, live alone, and have no family nearby. If you are finding it challenging, we have some suggestions for you. 

  • Keep building supportive, nurturing relationships. Reach out to your neighbors, friends, and family members, finding ways to connect and interact. Find ways to regularly interact, whether that is face to face, on the phone, through email, or with cards and letters. 
  • Find a club to join. What do you like to do? What interests you? If you love to read, join a book club. If gardening is your passion, find a garden club in your area. If you have a hobby like woodworking, knitting, or writing, there are clubs for those things, too. Joining a group of people who share an interest with you is a great way to make friends. 
  • Play games together. Find a bridge club or a poker game. Play intellectually stimulating games online with people you know. When you play games, you are stimulating your mind as well as connecting with other people. 
  • Do something in your community. Maybe you will take a part-time job. Maybe you will volunteer. There are plenty of volunteer organizations that welcome participation by seniors, and you can find one that means something to you. Do you love pets? Volunteer at a shelter. Do you enjoy interacting with children? Volunteer at an elementary school or tutor children in reading. Volunteer work allows you to give back while engaging with others. 
  • Find a place of worship. For many seniors, being a part of a religious community is very meaningful. Look for a place of worship where you feel welcome, and begin attending services and socials. Be friendly, and make an effort to get to know some of the members, perhaps by joining a small group or getting together for lunch. 
  • Making visits with friends and family part of your regular routine. Purposely set aside time for your friends and family, whether that is dinner once a week with your kids or Sunday brunch with your girlfriends. Maybe you will get together with friends to play poker or golf, or maybe you’ll go to the movies together. The important thing is to make a habit of regularly interacting with people you already know, and you may find that you meet new friends through this increased socializing. 
  • Consider an active adult community. When you live in a community with your peers, you have more organic opportunities to connect. What’s more, senior living communities provide social events, classes, outings, and other chances to meet new people and make new friends. 

Build Your Community at Parkwood Heights

Living in a senior living community can provide you with the opportunity to meet new people and live a happy, healthy life. At Parkwood Heights, we prioritize the health and happiness of our residents. We want them to live life to the fullest, as they enjoy all the amenities that make Parkwood a great place to live their best lives. A lovely community in which to spend your retirement, Parkwood Heights is located just minutes from Victor, Fairport, Farmington, and Canandaigua. We offer a social calendar with activities to enjoy, an arts and crafts studio, educational opportunities, dancing and theme parties, and trips and outings, so that our residents have plenty of opportunities to stay engaged and connected. Our picturesque, 122-acre senior living campus affords many opportunities to enjoy your time with friends while enjoying our scenic setting. Call (315) 986-9100 to learn more about all that we have to offer or check out our website and reach out if you have any questions.

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Rosa / Family

Here it is just a little over two weeks since we moved Bruce into Parkwood. I just wanted to tell you how pleased we are with Bruce’s transition and acclimation to Parkwood Heights. The entire staff and residents have been so very welcoming, helpful, and supportive.I see a remarkable difference in Bruce’s energy, health, and his avenues of interest….. We owe this to the eager and affirmative attention everyone at Parkwood has given Bruce over these past two weeks…Oh my gosh, I can’t tell you how relieved, rested, and encouraged I feel since Bruce has joined the Parkwood community…

Ken and Bev Keyes
Ken and Bev Keyes / Family

Ken and I just want to let you know how much we appreciated having our Uncle in the Enriched Program at Parkwood Heights. His apartment was bright and inviting and the care he received by all the staff was wonderful. He could be independent, as well as cared for in relation to his needs. No matter what the day brought, the staff would tell us they loved their jobs and would always have a smile and a hug for everyone, helping to make each day a better day for those around them.

Dolores / Resident

I moved to Parkwood Heights in 2005 because I wanted to live closer to my daughter. The activities department was the deciding factor. I enjoy having so many activities and events to choose from. Also, when calculating my expenses to live in my home or to live at Parkwood, the decision was made easier because the cost was about the same.

Tom & Donna
Tom & Donna / Family

On January 19th we moved mom from Florida to New York. We were pleased with Parkwood Heights, from staff to the lovely facility. It was a difficult move for mom at the age of 97 as well as us with the arrangements. From day one, all of our questions were answered and we were guided through the move as easily as possible.

Tom and Nancy
Tom and Nancy / Villa Residents

We had been looking around for about 2 years ... we knew that we wanted a spacious villa ... we came to Parkwood because we wanted to do things and they had just what we were looking for. There are so many activities to choose from, places to go and people to visit with. We love it here.

Norma / Resident

I've been living at Parkwood Heights since November of 2000. I am so happy here ~ the people are so nice and there is so much to do. If I didn't like it here I'd be a fool.

Elenore Bulau
Elenore Bulau / Resident

I have no qualms about saying the management staff is excellent – always friendly and will drop everything to listen to you.

Jeannette M.
Jeannette M. / Resident

There is a great variety of activities and the staff are willing to do anything!

Helen Lund
Helen Lund / Resident

The maintenance guys are so friendly and take care of our requests promptly

J. Bieler
J. Bieler / Resident

The drivers are super caring people who always do a good job

Bev Breen
Bev Breen / Resident

Our servers are wonderful!