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How Senior Living Can Improve Mental Health for Seniors

Explore how senior living can improve mental health for seniors. Seniorly explains how mental health can improve for seniors who live in a senior community.

By Lydia Bruno · Updated Aug 08, 2022
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It is a normal part of the aging process for seniors to want to live long lives and on their own terms well into their senior years, but this is not always possible. When it starts to become noticeable that some senior skills are less reliable than they once were, there can be a real plunge in confidence, which leads seniors to suffer from mental health problems like depression or anxiety. Senior living allows for more independence as well as more assistance with daily life and everyday chores, such as activities of daily living (ADLs). Having others to rely upon for help with the tasks giving them trouble can improve seniors' mental health because independence gives people a feeling of competence and prideful ability, which contributes greatly towards their emotional overall wellbeing.

What are the benefits of senior living communities?

Senior living communities such as independent living and assisted living provides seniors with housing, meals, safety, and community support networks. Seniors are able to do as little as possible when it comes to chores like cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, or transportation. This way they can focus on what is most important to them; family members and friends. 

Seniors living in a senior community have the benefit of having a support network around them. People tend to become lonely after a certain age when they are living alone. This is one of the reasons why senior communities are so popular. Senior communities offer opportunities for social interaction every day. 

Senior living facilities provide private and shared residences as well as built-in communities that can help with mental health-related issues such as loneliness and depression along with lack of physical activity. Senior living also offers increased access to amenities that can help improve mental health. Staff at senior living communities are better able to observe any changes in senior health, so they can provide support.

Seniors also have the comfort of knowing that they live in safer environments. From wider hallways, fewer stairs, and support rails, seniors are allowed to move more freely around the community without falling or fear of falling. Reducing this fear can help reduce their anxiety levels. 

What are the benefits of senior socialization?

You may wonder what healthy aging looks like. It can be described as an individual who is not only both physically and mentally healthy, but one who is also socially engaged and socially functioning. But according to the National Institute on Aging, 13.8 million people in the United States live alone. Although many are not alone or socially isolated, there are others that are lonely even around friends and family. 

Socialization can help seniors stay mentally healthy by providing a sense of purpose and a sense of belonging while reducing feelings of loneliness or isolation. Participating in social activities is a great way to keep seniors physically and mentally active, which has many health benefits such as keeping older adults engaged and in good mental health and spirits.

7 benefits of living in a senior community

Social isolation and loneliness can be linked to higher risks for different types of physical health and mental health conditions: heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, severe cognitive impairment, and death. 

Loneliness and isolation are common among seniors. To avoid the negative effects of loneliness in older adults, it’s important for loved ones to be proactive about staying in touch with them by engaging in activities like using social media for phone calls, FaceTime, or chats online when they can't physically visit.

It's clear that senior living communities can be an important part of aging successfully. These communities provide seniors with the opportunity for social engagement, mental stimulation, and physical exercise, which has been shown to help maintain independence as we age. While there are many benefits associated with being around others who share your experiences in life, here are seven benefits of senior living for aging adults:

  1. Social connections and interactions. Senior living communities provide private residences, as well as community support networks, which can help with mental-health-related issues such as loneliness and lack of physical activity. Older people can make new friends and interact with others over a crossword puzzle, board games, book club, or learn a new skill or hobby with their new friends.
  2. Access to amenities. Senior living communities provide residents with easy access to a variety of amenities that can improve their overall quality of life, including fitness centers, libraries, places of worship, and more.
  3. Home maintenance. When seniors live on their own, it is often more difficult for them to complete tasks that are necessary for home maintenance, such as cleaning, cooking, mowing the grass, and grocery shopping. In a senior living community, all of the maintenance is taken care of for them.
  4. Living in their own home too long causes complications. When they do so, home maintenance can be a lot of work and time-consuming. When seniors live on their own, it is more difficult for them to get the social support they need and the help with maintenance for their everyday life.
  5. Better observations. When you live in a senior living facility, the staff and health care providers see you on a regular basis and are able to observe small changes in your health and attend better to your personal care and overall health.
  6. Allows for more physical activity. Senior living allows seniors to move around and get regular exercise more than they would in their own homes. Having access to therapies and fitness classes can help to strengthen seniors against the risk of falls. It can improve their strength and muscles by strength training while they take a daily walk and help with mobility issues.  Physical activity can also reduce stress and anxiety.
  7. Support for mental health conditions. Senior living communities can be an essential and valuable part of the solution for seniors with mental health issues. The social support system offered by these locations that recognize symptoms when necessary provides a much-needed helping hand to struggling individuals. The community is also a great resource for those who just want someone close at hand during challenging times.

It is clear that senior living communities provide many benefits for seniors, from social support to mental health-related care. If you are a senior who is looking for ways to stay in your home for as long as possible, or if you are a caregiver of an aging loved one, it is important to consider the many advantages of senior communities. 

Works Consulted:

Cacioppo, John “Older adults reporting social isolation or loneliness show poorer cognitive function 4 years later”. National Library of Medicine. April 17, 2014. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23749730/

“Heart Health and Aging”, National Institute on Aging, accessed February 13, 2022, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/heart-health-and-aging#heart-disease

“Memory, Forgetfulness, and Aging: What's Normal and What's Not?”, National Institute on Aging, accessed February 13, 2022, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/memory-forgetfulness-and-aging-whats-normal-and-whats-not

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written by:
Lydia Bruno

Lydia Bruno

Copywriter for Seniorly, with 5+ years experience in professional caregiving and senior housing
View other articles written by Lydia

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