Get more exercise. Get plenty of rest. Eat healthier foods.
It’s a familiar list, and a good one. After all, remaining active and eating well are the cornerstones of ageing well.
Here’s another, less familiar, notion for you to consider: get engaged in your community.
The Benefits of Getting Involved in Your Community
Civic engagement may not be on the top of everyone’s to-do list, but it probably should be. Evidence indicates that people who are engaged in their communities are:
- less likely to have high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease;
- face a lower risk of cognitive impairment;
- and, might even live longer.
Community Engagement in Retirement Living
In spring 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the effects that social isolation has on all of us, but particularly on older adults.
For many, the opportunities to gather in person and attend social engagement programs were temporarily put on hold. Following these temporary pauses, All Seniors Care residences worked quickly to adapt existing programming – and launch new ones – to lessen the impact of social isolation on older adults.
Why Seniors Should Build Social Capital
“Social capital” is the term scientists often use to describe the strength of our social relationships, and the extent to which we feel physically and emotionally supported by our communities.
The health benefits of “social capital”— the ties that build trust, connection, and participation are multifaceted. And may be particularly important for seniors. This is because the decline in health and social capital that comes with age can have a direct, negative impact on mental and physical health.
Fortunately, there is a solution: building senior communities that maximize sharing, friendship, health, and happiness.
How To Build Your Social Capital
- Become a joiner.
It doesn’t matter which group activity you join, as long as you participate actively and regularly. If you live in one of our retirement homes, ask your Health and Wellness Director for a copy of the monthly activity calendar, or become a volunteer in your community.
- Befriend your neighbors.
Get to know the people around you. Friendship is needed at every stage of life. Friends give our lives meaning, comfort, joy; they help prevent loneliness and isolation. Whether you’ve just moved to a new home or still live where you were born, it’s never too early or too late to start. Organize a party, invite neighbours in for some refreshments, say hello when you are outside, or join NextDoor.com.
- Develop Hobbies.
Help your loved one find groups of people who engage in the same hobbies your parent does. Whether it’s joining a knitting club or attending a woodworking class, your loved one will have a reason to spend time with like-minded people on a regular basis.
- Move to a tight knit community.
Retirement communities generate many opportunities for formal and informal social activity, promote engagement, solidarity between residents, and active, independent ageing. In an age-in-place community, you maintain choice in how little or how much you socialize, while having the peace of mind that support is always available.
- Consider Ageing-In-Place
Age-in-place is a comfortable environment where seniors can customize the level of assistance they receive as their needs evolve. Residences like All Seniors Care helps seniors stay engaged, whether they live in an independent apartment or in Memory Care. That is because a full roster of activities motivate and encourage seniors to: meet their neighbours, get involved in volunteer opportunities, and enjoy a sense of belonging. Social capital is built every day!
Did you know that living in a place with greater social capital can be highly impactful? A 2011 study published in the Journal of International Neuropsychology revealed that seniors who felt socially engaged saw a 70% reduction in cognitive decline.
Just one of the ways we help seniors connect is to bring the community to them! From an afternoon of outdoor shopping – local retailers set up shop at the residence – to joining in a Road Worlds for Seniors international competition, All Seniors Care creates opportunities for seniors get active and connect with the world around them. Can’t make it to the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival? Join ours! The Olympics are too far away? Why not try our Seniors Games!
How a Seniors Living Community Promotes Connection
We cannot overstate the importance of friendships and being social. One Harvard research study of men 20 to 80 years old found that relationships are a far greater determinant of health than career success and material wealth. Other significant health benefits of being part of a social circle and community have also been widely proven and well-documented.
Residents living in senior living communities’ benefit from a multitude of lifestyle, programming, and service offerings. Much attention is devoted to planning programming that promotes physical and mental health – from BLOSSOM to health coaching, to cultivating a fun, and stimulating multicultural activities.
Our goals are to help seniors:
- Feel valued for their insights, input, and life experience
- Increase confidence, enjoyment of life, and improve health and wellbeing
- Express their needs and ideas
- Develop age-friendly and intergenerational-friendly communities
If you are looking for a retirement residence in Canada with an active social calendar, take a tour and learn about our other locations, like MacTaggart Place in West Edmonton, Alberta or McCarthy Place in Stratford, Ontario.
When you’re looking for a retirement residence, find one that increases your social capital. Schedule a visit and be sure to ask about the social clubs and activities.