Are you like us and randomly get the tune from “Happy Together” by The Turtles stuck in your head? (“So happy together… ba-ba-ba-ba-babababa…!”) There is a reason why and it’s not just because it’s a catchy tune. We are subliminally processing the lyrics about togetherness and the benefits of being around our favorite people. We all know how challenging this past year has been in a lot of ways, but one of the most consistent has been the isolation that many people have felt when trying to navigate the world safely. Being able to socialize is an essential part of everyone’s mental and physical well-being.
Humans are naturally social creatures: From tightknit family units to much larger communities, we have always thrived around interaction with others. And while it can be a good idea to spend some time alone (Who doesn’t love reading a good book in their favorite chair?), too much time in isolation can hinder your quality of life in very real ways. Older adults are especially susceptible to emotional, physical, and even cognitive decline when deprived of the ability to create and maintain social bonds due to typically having more sedentary lifestyles – even more so in the last year.
As noted in our previous blog, The Importance of Staying “Social” When Social Distancing, studies have shown a correlation between isolation and life vitality; limited social contact is directly correlated with cancer, heart disease, depression, weight loss, memory loss, and other ailments. A lack of human contact and interaction due to social isolation has been a very real issue facing seniors who need our support.
But wait… there is good news! As the world has started to open back up in a safe and responsible way, we are thankfully seeing improvements in the emotional, physical, and cognitive abilities of older adults. So – if isolation is the problem, socialization is the solution.
If you didn’t already know how important socialization is… now you do – so what’s next?
Well, for older adults, senior living communities can be extremely beneficial in providing opportunities to get out and be active with others in a safe, conscious way. After all, if you want to be social… you’re going to need other people, right?
There are plenty of ways senior living communities can go about facilitating socialization. Traditionally, every senior living community employs an “Activity Director” who creates a weekly activity calendar to offer residents opportunities to stay active physically and interact socially. In early 2020, Thrive Senior Living reinvented the traditional activity role into the “Social Network Director” role. Social Network Directors expand on the industry basics of activity and engagement planning and advance those by helping residents engage with other residents and team members who have similar lifelong interests. New programs are birthed within the community based on the passions of that specific community’s current resident population. It’s proving to increase resident engagement when they have the opportunity to continue lifelong loves. For example, the Pairing of Passions program is an initiative within Thrive Communities that takes into account that people have similar interests and then creates activities, events, and clubs that build upon those commonalities. Thrive uses a method called “deep knowing” to delve into what each resident likes and dislikes, from sports they played in grade school to nonprofits they volunteered with. The Social Network Director can then more clearly customize the social (event) calendar, for instance:
Another example of how Thrive helps residents get and stay engaged with others is the Resident Ambassador Program, which offers them a role in leading projects and helping their neighbors to get involved and find their people… because everything is better when we’re together!
Programs such as these are just a couple of ways that Thrive helps to beat the isolation blues and have fun with friends. We will always help you find the “Marco” to your “Polo” because 2+ players are better than one! It’s a win-win for everyone!
It’s obviously no secret – staying connected is a crucial part of maintaining mental, physical, and emotional health, especially as the world begins to open up more. Whether you’re looking for Independent Living, Assisted Living, or Memory Care services, you’ll want to find a senior living community that offers an approach to socialization that fits your needs. At Thrive Senior Living, making sure that every resident is abundantly healthy, happy, and safe is our priority every single day. Does this blog have you ready to Thrive? Click here to start your adventure with us – because having fun and being social is something everyone deserves!