September 28 2018
The AARP estimates that 51 percent of people over the age of 75 are living alone. A study done by researchers at San Francisco University found that 43 percent of people over the age of 60 who live alone report feeling lonely. Feelings of loneliness come when the type of relationships you have in your life pale in comparison to the relationships you want to have. Several things can contribute to loneliness, such as:
• Loss of loved ones
• Poor health
• Sensory loss that makes socializing difficult
• Lack of public transportation
Loneliness can be difficult to deal with, and it can have an adverse effect on your health. The stress that comes from feeling lonely can lead to increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can affect your white blood cells, reducing your body’s ability to fight infections. Loneliness can also lead to the possible future development of:
• High blood pressure
• Cognitive decline
Community Battles Loneliness
Community is a word that means fellowship; togetherness; a group. People with like interests or common characteristics who live together, or near each other, form a community. In areas of senior living, age might be the thing that brings people together, but it can also be the thing that holds them together. Engaging with other members of your senior living community can have loneliness-busting benefits that can actually improve your overall health and sense of wellbeing.
• Having the support of a community can provide a sense of belonging. Those who have lost their spouse and loved ones can be the loneliest people of all, unsure of where they belong in the world. Through community engagement, new friendships can grow, returning a sense of purpose and belonging.
• Senior living communities can build self-esteem and enhance mental health. Participating in activities that are fun and rewarding can make you feel confident in yourself and your abilities. Being around people with a common goal helps with a positive outlook.
• Being part of a community can bring accountability. On the days when you feel too low to leave the house, knowing that your senior living community members are waiting for you can give you the push you need to get going.
• Socializing can improve your physical health. When you spend time with others in meaningful conversation, or doing activities you enjoy, it releases chemicals in the brain that can boost the immune system. This can help fight off illness and disease.
Community is where it all comes together. Community is where loneliness dissipates, and enjoyable living begins.
Community is where senior living becomes something exciting, different, and better than ever.