When feelings of loneliness become chronic and pervasive, it’s a matter for concern. Our mental state has a direct impact on biological processes in the body. The stress of chronic loneliness triggers a “flight or fight” response that puts our body on a constant high alert. This leads to major negative health consequences, including depression, poor sleep, and cellular inflammation causing impaired immunity and accelerated cognitive decline.
For seniors who are not satisfying their social needs or lack a social circle that provides friendship and connection, poor health is the result. But more social interaction can remedy this.
According to a Canadian research study, when seniors increase the number of social activities they participate in, they feel more satisfied with life and more positive about their well-being. A study by the University of Queensland in Australia also found that older adults who take part in social groups such as book clubs or church groups have a lower risk of premature death.
Social Health and Senior Living Communities
Socialization in senior living communities makes it easy for seniors to improve social connections and decrease loneliness. Residents live close to their neighbors and are surrounded by staff, which is reassuring if friends or family do not live nearby or aren’t able to visit often.
The opportunities for social interaction — from planned activities and outings to spontaneous introductions and conversations — are rich. Residents can choose to eat with others, instead of eating alone. They can participate in an activity or class, and open themselves up to new interest groups. Community transportation makes it easy to agree to an outing or go on a shopping trip for a stress-relieving day of fun.