As our loved ones get older we have a lot of health issues to worry about. We often have so much to worry about we forget about the feeling of loneliness and isolation our loved ones can feel.
Loneliness and isolation have become major health concerns. It’s more than just a feeling. They can have an impact on many different aspects of senior health from heart disease to decreased life expectancy.
The National Poll on Healthy Aging has found roughly a third of older adults are lonely. Research has shown that loneliness and social isolation can harm memory, physical well-being, overall mental health, immune response, and life expectancy. The research also found chronic loneliness and isolation could shorten life expectancy more than smoking, being overweight, or being sedentary. The NIA found that loneliness changes our behavior and biological processes which contribute to early death.
Helping alleviate loneliness is not simple. Older adults who move in with their children have not lost the feeling of loneliness or social isolation. This is because this attempt to fix the problem doesn't build desired or meaningful relationships with peers.
Loneliness is also an issue in nursing homes and similar senior living communities. Privacy, lack of Independence, rigid dining, and daily schedules, and rules and regulations make it impossible for seniors to feel like they are at home. This feeling of not belonging makes it difficult to form deep bonds with fellow residents and staff.
The structure of home plus assisted living feels more like home because it is. The number of residents is smaller allowing these environments to be much more flexible than an assisted living, senior living community, or nursing home. Due to the smaller scale, a home plus can carefully select dedicated staff that care and the staff turnover is low. All of this combined means seniors can build deep meaningful bonds and
build relationships and camaraderie with fellow residents and staff members. The setting and size of a home plus assisted living allows seniors to have independence, a sense of belonging and most importantly feeling like they are at home.
It's much easier for someone to feel like they are at home and belong when they live in a home plus, see the same faces every day, and build a relationship with the person providing their care. The smaller size also allows home plus assisted living environments to cater to each senior as an individual. There are no rigid schedules and we can cater to each individual's needs. This could be something as simple as the way a resident wants their towels folded.
Finding solutions for loneliness is highly personal and takes time and understanding. In a home plus assisted living environment we provide the care, expertise, and commitment to help a senior overcome this and thrive.