All of us can feel alone and lonely at any given period of our lives even when we are surrounded by friends, families, and loved ones. Fortunately, for most of us, we can bounce back, see our whole lives in front of us, and not stay feeling this way. For our senior loved ones, however, the situation is undeniably different—the stakes are higher but the opportunities to do something about their situation, less so. That is to say, with their age comes many limitations but even more risks. The very fact that they will have difficulty getting around and taking part in the community they have been in their whole lives can be jarring and can affect their self-esteem, which may then lead them to isolate themselves and endure loneliness. Loneliness, in turn, is associated with serious health problems. One study has found that a lack of social connection is as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Worse, it has been linked to a mortality rate of as high as 26 percent. To be clear, isolation does not necessarily mean loneliness. According to a study from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), of the 43% of seniors who reported feeling lonely, although only 18% of them lived alone. Thus, it is not enough to have a company; in fact, the quality of the relationship we have with that company may be the most important thing of all. In other words, getting a caregiver for your senior loved ones is not the be-all, end-all, they must be in an environment that allows them to form connections. As an adult daytime center in Forest, Virginia at Raspberry Hill Adult Daytime Center, we are in the business of offering opportunities to connect and improve lives in so doing. That is why we understand just how important having community support is in building relationships. In line with this, here are some of the most important benefits of having community support for our senior loved ones:
- Promotes a longer lifespanWith community support through our adult day programs, our elderlies can avoid social isolation, a major risk of premature death per a report from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
- Decreased risk for dementiaAccording to one Swedish study, having community support ensures meaningful interactions, a vital tool in reducing the risk for the many forms of dementia.
- Faster recoveryPer a study from Ohio State University, with constant community support along with the required senior care and adult day services in Virginia, our elderlies can heal faster and recover.