Winter brings snow, ice, and cold temperatures to many regions. If you or your senior loved one live in such an area, it’s important to understand the risks of the season. It’s a beautiful time of year with lots of excitement as the holidays approach, but it has its hazards. The conditions can be a danger to people of any age, especially the elderly.
The best thing to do is to know how to mitigate the risks of winter so that you or your loved one can enjoy the season and stay safe. Be mindful of the weather and remember that older people face challenges that younger people do not, like being more susceptible to the cold.
If your loved one resides in an assisted living community, then they are already a step ahead when it comes to safety. These facilities are built to protect older adults all year round. If you have been asking yourself “Is an assisted living community a safe place for my loved one?” then it may be time to look into it.
What can you do to protect yourself or an aging loved one from the potential perils of the winter season?
Monitor the Weather Forecast When Making Plans
If you plan to go out or to take your loved one out, monitor the weather forecast. This will help you determine if it’s a good time to travel and how to prepare.
The weather can change, so make sure you keep an eye on the forecast leading up to the day of your plans. If there is a risk of severe conditions, it may be best to postpone an event or reschedule an appointment.
Some areas can see dramatic changes during this time of year. While one area may have heavy snow, another might see rain or rain and ice. Use this information to ensure that you have appropriate attire with you in case conditions change or become extreme.
Always Dress for the Weather Using Layers
Seniors should dress in layers when going out during winter. This is the best way to stay warm but also have the option to remove a layer if they start to overheat. Everyone should be comfortable when going out, and layering is a great way to do that.
Keep in mind that slush or melting snow can cause garments to become damp. It’s always helpful to bring a change of clothes if possible, or at least a few basics like dry socks.
Always wear shoes that provide plenty of foot support with good treads for traction. Even if a senior won’t be hiking in the woods, they may still encounter ice and snow on sidewalks or in parking lots. Road salt can also be a slipping hazard when wearing the wrong footwear.
Follow Doctor’s Orders for Immunizations
Seniors should check in with their doctors to discuss winter health preparations. The fall and winter are considered flu season because infections peak during this part of the year.
Your doctor may recommend a flu shot or other measures to protect you or your loved one. Talking directly with their doctor will give them the best recommendations based on their individual needs.
It’s best to start this process during or before the fall so you or your loved one are ready when the time comes. Your doctor can also suggest lifestyle changes that will help build the immune system during the cooler months. For example, your doctor may suggest safe ways for seniors to stay fit indoors to avoid weight gain during winter.
Use COVID-19 Safety Measures at Holiday Events
While COVID-19 is not as rampant as it was a couple of years ago, it is still around. And it is still a big concern for the elderly. Keep this in mind during the winter when people often attend crowded holiday events and gatherings.
If you or a senior loved one will be going to a family get-together or a community event, make sure they are vaccinated. It may still be advisable to wear a mask and try to avoid close contact with others.
Verify That Their Living Space is Comfortable
One of the biggest benefits of assisted living is that these communities provide seniors with a safe, clean place to live that’s well-maintained. Staff handles all cleaning and repairs as needed.
It doesn’t hurt to check in with your loved one and make sure they are comfortable in their living space. Is their room as warm as they like? Have they noticed a draft coming from a door or window?
If so, be their advocate and talk to staff to find a solution. It’s possible that a minor repair was overlooked, or something needs to be reinsulated.
Have Extra Blankets or Heating Pads Ready
Having extra blankets or a heating pad on hand can help seniors stay cozy this winter. A spare blanket or two will ensure they can always bundle up if they are feeling chilly.
Heating pads are great, especially if they are portable. Electric pads work well but will require an electrical outlet. There are microwavable heating pads that are safe and convenient. After warming in the microwave, they can be used anywhere without an outlet. They come in different shapes with and without straps so that they can be held or worn.
Avoid Travel During Inhospitable Weather
Human beings can’t control the weather. If it’s going to rain or snow, we have to adapt. Unfortunately, these conditions can appear when we have other plans. When this happens, it’s important to put safety first.
For example, a family gathering may fall on a day that has a blizzard in the forecast. It may be best to not bring grandma or grandpa to the festivities if the weather poses a risk.
It’s sometimes a difficult decision to make, so it helps to have a backup plan. If you can’t reschedule the whole gathering, consider planning another event at a later date that will include your loved one.
Talk About Assisted Living Emergency Plans
Every assisted living facility should have an emergency plan. This should include different potential situations. If the region experiences winter conditions, then staff should know what to do if something occurs during a heavy snowstorm.
Ask staff about their emergency plan. What will they do if the power goes out on a cold, snowy day? What if there is too much ice and snow to leave? Do they stock several days’ worth of supplies in case they are snowed in?
This information will help families feel confident that their family member is in a safe place. You can also share the details with your loved one so they can feel comfortable knowing they are safe, and the staff is prepared.
Know the Signs of Hypothermia in Seniors
The cold can affect older adults quicker than others. You and your loved one should know the symptoms of hypothermia so that you can take action before it’s too late.
The early signs of hypothermia include:
- Cold hands and feet
- Slowed speech
- Feeling confused, sleepy, or angry
- Pale skin
- Swollen face
If a senior doesn’t seek warmth, hypothermia can progress. Later signs include:
- Uncontrollable jerking in limbs
- Slow, shallow breathing
- Slowed heartbeat
- Going in and out of consciousness
If you notice the signs of hypothermia, move to a warm place immediately. If you can’t do that, you can also try skin-to-skin contact to transfer body heat. Wrap both people in a blanket for insulation.
A warm non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverage can also help.
You should seek immediate medical attention to get body temperature back to where it should be and ensure there are no other health complications.
Consider a Move to a Warmer Climate
Seniors who struggle with winter weather conditions should consider a move to a warmer climate.
Arizona is a popular choice among senior citizens. The state has high temperatures and a dry heat. The lack of humidity makes the warmer season more comfortable compared to other parts of the country.
Depending on which part of Arizona you live in, you may never or rarely have to deal with snow. It’s an ideal setting for seniors.
Learn More About Assisted Living at Vista Living
Begin your search for a warm place to call home with Vista Living Senior Care. Our residential facilities provide all the amenities of home without the risk of heavy ice and snow. Visit the Vista Living Senior Care website or give us a call to learn more.
We often discuss how medical needs change when we age. While physical limitations and medical needs may increase, it’s important to not overlook mental health. Our emotional and mental wellbeing is essential to overall health.
According to the National Institute on Aging, almost three in 10 seniors in the United States live alone. That amounts to almost 13.8 million people. That’s ok if each person can care for themselves and fit enough social interaction into their average day.
The problem is that not all seniors have access to a support network. They may not have any peers nearby to spend time with or friends and family to check in.
Living alone also leaves them vulnerable to other problems. If physical challenges reduce strength and mobility, a senior could find themselves unable to handle activities of daily living like preparing food, cleaning, or bathing. This problem will lead to health and safety risks if no one is around to notice changes and provide assistance.
Many elderly people choose to move into a group living situation to prevent these problems. Assisted living communities are a popular choice because they are equipped to handle the changing needs of seniors.
Assisted living facilities supply ample opportunities for socialization. What can a move into a retirement community do for your aging loved one?
- Gives Seniors Access to a Group of Peers
When a person gets older, they will likely face the loss of friends and family members. The oldest among us are usually the ones who have lost the most people in their lives. It’s a sad truth that can weigh heavily on a person’s mind.
Negative feelings can be exacerbated when those losses lead to a smaller social circle. Fewer people to interact with can cause feelings of loneliness which can develop into depression. Our mental health state has a direct impact on quality of life and longevity.
Assisted living communities give residents access to a group of peers. Each person in a facility has their own living space but can also move into communal areas to meet with others. It creates opportunities to make new friends – which can significantly improve a senior’s wellbeing and outlook on life.
- Hosts Events and Parties That Enrich Senior Life
Assisted living communities work hard to encourage socializing and bonding among residents. One great way to do that is through events and parties.
Most facilities have at least one person whose job is to plan a full events calendar. What’s included will vary from one community to another. However, all usually include things like holiday dinners, fitness groups, craft sessions, and hobby or interest groups.
For example, some communities organize book clubs where residents can come together and discuss books they read together. Others may have on-site gardens for residents who like to spend time outdoors.
There’s always something going on in an assisted living community. Your loved one will have access to a long list of events, parties, and groups that make life more interesting. A variety of activities help prevent depression and inspire social interactions.
- Encourages Growth and Personal Development in Seniors
You are never too young to learn something new. Assisted living communities host classes that give residents a chance to develop their skills. They may also work with local colleges to provide senior-friendly courses.
Lifelong learning is beneficial for seniors. The practice increases neuron generation in the brain. Neurons send information throughout the body and support attention span, memory, reasoning, and thinking. More neurons also help lower the risk of some types of dementia.
Along with socializing in classes, seniors also tend to be better prepared to adapt to changes when they are active learners. Exposure to new experiences can lower blood pressure, muscle tension, and stress levels. These benefits help a person cope with challenges and obstacles in other parts of their life.
- Ensures That Someone is Always Checking In
Isolation leaves a senior vulnerable to health and safety risks. Moving into an assisted living community removes isolation as a potential risk factor.
There’s always someone around to speak to in a retirement community. Choose a facility with 24-hour staff on-site so your loved one never feels like assistance is out of reach. Residents can quickly request help if they fall or have trouble completing a task.
Senior living homes also tend to be designed with the needs of the elderly in mind. They will have more safety features like railings and non-slip mats, which further decreases the risk of injury.
If something happens, your loved one won’t be alone in assisted living. Someone is always close by to help.
- Assisted Living Means More Free Time to Socialize
An older person may have trouble keeping up with independent living conditions. Living alone means you have to do the cleaning, cooking, and home maintenance. Physical changes and limited mobility can make it impossible to do the things a senior once handled without support.
Moving into assisted living eliminates these concerns. Residents don’t have to worry about cleaning, repairs, and general maintenance. All these responsibilities are handled by staff so residents can spend more time socializing and enjoying their golden years.
- Easy Access to Mental Health Care and Professionals
In the past, people did not have as much access to mental health services as they do now. If you experienced depression, anxiety, or other mental conditions, you may have suffered in silence on your own.
Now, we have a better understanding of the importance of a healthy mind. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to get help when they need it. Assisted living communities provide easier access to professionals.
Staff can make appointments with therapists and counselors. They will also check in with residents to ensure that they get support as needed in case their mental health status changes.
- Lowers the Risk of Loneliness and Depression in Seniors
Around 80% of older adults have at least one chronic health condition while about 50% have at least two. Illnesses like cancer and heart disease increase a senior’s risk of depression.
Older adults are also often undertreated or misdiagnosed. Healthcare providers may incorrectly associate symptoms of depression with normal aging. It’s important to emphasize that depression is not a normal part of getting older.
Assisted living comes with a built-in community for seniors, making it much easier to connect with others and prevent isolation. They also make services and activities more accessible. With staff constantly keeping watch, residents are less likely to become depressed or live with untreated depression for an extended period.
Many residents find a sense of purpose in assisted living. Some may help new residents adapt or join a group or committee. Some even support charities and non-profits. Having a sense of purpose is another good way to prevent depression and isolation.
Vista Living Senior Care encourages residents to live happy, fulfilling lives. Get in touch now to find out how we help our seniors manage their mental health.
The word dementia describes conditions that cause cognitive decline. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. People with one of these conditions tend to have difficulties with memory, decision making, and thinking. They may also struggle performing activities of daily living.
An estimated 5.8 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s or related dementia. That demographic includes 5.6 million adults who are over age 65. This is a condition that affects senior citizens more than any other age group.
Unfortunately, the number of people with Alzheimer’s is expected to rise to 14 million by 2060.
You may be at a higher risk of dementia based on your health status and family history. Minority populations are most affected. Hispanic people are expected to increase seven times over the current estimate while African American cases will increase four times.
Women are almost twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than men, primarily because they tend to live longer.
Even if you don’t have an increased risk due to genetics or other factors, you should still know the early signs of dementia. Catching the condition sooner will help patients live safer and healthier.
- Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks
Occasionally, a person may have difficulty doing something that they do every day. This isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm but should be monitored. Dementia can make it hard to complete tasks that you have performed many times before.
This can begin to affect basic activities that are necessary to live, like forgetting to eat a meal. If you or a loved one frequently have trouble doing familiar things, it’s time to see a doctor.
Even if your loved one doesn’t say they are having difficulties, you can look for signs. For example, a person with dementia may lose weight because they forget to eat. They may also show signs of poor personal hygiene because they forget to bathe or groom.
If you see these changes, do not ignore them. They should be addressed before they become a health risk.
- Noticeable Memory Loss and Forgetfulness
Memory loss is one of the most well-known symptoms of dementia. Alzheimer’s and similar diseases damage the parts of the brain that are needed for memory recall. Seniors with one of these conditions may forget day-to-day things like a friend’s name, appointments, or phone numbers. They often struggle to retain new information.
An inability to remember can affect how a person functions. The symptom will worsen as the disease progresses, making it harder to store and retrieve memories.
- Disinterest and a Loss of Initiative
Everyone has days when they feel a lack of motivation. This is a normal part of life. However, dementia patients may show a consistent loss of initiative. They may seem disinterested in socializing and life in general.
Dementia can also cause patients to withdraw. They may need prompting to interact with others or the world around them. They may also seem uninterested in things that they used to care about, like hobbies, religion, and other people.
- Trouble with Abstract Thinking
Abstract thinking refers to the brain’s ability to consider concepts beyond what’s observed in front of us. It requires pattern recognition, analysis, and problem solving.
Dementia can hinder a person’s ability to use abstract thinking. They may have difficulty doing things like balancing a checkbook or using a calculator. Their ability to understand numbers and their uses can become impaired.
- Changes in Language and Word Misuse
Dementia can affect a person’s ability to use language. Early signs may appear as word misuse and difficulty communicating. The patient may not know how to express their thoughts or use the wrong words in sentences.
Simple words can be forgotten and replaced with other words, which makes it difficult to understand what a person with dementia is saying.
Changes in language should never be ignored. A medical evaluation should be done as soon as possible.
- Frequently Losing or Misplacing Belongings
The average person has misplaced or lost items at least once in their life. Most have done this more than once. However, it shouldn’t be a frequent problem.
Cognitive decline can cause a person to forget where to find their belongings. They may put things back in the wrong place, making it harder to locate what they need later. This often involves everyday items like a purse or wallet.
Missing items may be left in illogical places. For example, a dementia patient may mistakenly put their watch in the freezer.
- Inability to Process Spatial and Visual Information
Seniors with dementia may notice an inability to accurately process spatial and visual information. They may have trouble navigating areas or interacting with objects. For example, a dementia patient may have a hard time setting a mug on a table.
It’s important to note that this change may not be dementia-related. Vision impairment can have a similar effect. If you or a loved one notice issues like this, you should make an appointment with a doctor and an ophthalmologist. Seniors are advised to get regular vision screenings, anyway, so covering all bases is recommended.
- Becoming Lost in Time or Location
It isn’t unusual to occasionally forget the day of the week or the time. However, seniors with dementia notice significant disorientation. They may get lost in familiar places, like their own home or walking up their street.
Even if it’s a place that they spend a lot of time in or have visited many times before, they can become lost and not know where to go. This is dangerous for seniors who are alone because they can wander distances or end up in hazardous places.
- Risky Behavior and Poor Decision Making
A healthy senior mind can weigh risks and make good decisions. Older adults with dementia begin to lose this ability.
They may take risks that they normally would not take. Their decision-making can be impaired, which makes them vulnerable to fraud and criminal activity.
A senior with dementia may not recognize when they need care or attention. They may not go to the doctor when they are sick or injured. They may also not dress appropriately for outdoor conditions, like wearing a winter coat on a hot summer day or going out in a snowstorm without adequate clothing.
- Unexplained Change in Personality
Severe mood swings are a sign of dementia. Most people have good and bad days when they feel sad, angry, or otherwise down.
People with dementia may show noticeable changes in personality and mood. They can swing from calmness to anger or depression quickly and for no explainable reason.
Assisted living communities offer a safe senior housing option for adults with dementia. Visit Vista Living Senior Care to learn more about our memory care services.
Moving into assisted living is a big step in a senior’s life. It’s something that many elderly adults are reluctant to do. Some view senior care as a loss of freedom. It feels like a reminder of advanced age and a place where they can no longer do the things they love or live as they choose.
It’s a scary thought for some, which can make them reluctant to even discuss the topic let alone go through with the move. This can even occur despite facing challenges and safety risks as they get older and can no longer keep up in their current living environment.
Families sometimes avoid talking about assisted living because they fear upsetting their senior matriarch or patriarch. Unfortunately, this can lead to increased risks to the health and well-being of an older adult who needs more support. It can also hurt relationships with your loved one.
The best thing to do is to prepare for this discussion and then have it before your parent faces a lower quality of life living on their own.
The National Center for Assisted Living reported that more than 800,000 people reside in 28,900 assisted living communities across the country. It is an essential part of long-term care planning for many.
Today’s seniors are advised to look for assisted living accommodations earlier in life. That’s because it’s much easier to make the move and adapt when you are younger. It also reduces the risk of fall injuries or the potential impact of a medical emergency.
These facilities have resources close by to assist as soon as a problem occurs. If your loved one lives at home, response times may be longer, and resources may not be available to provide care until help arrives.
Finding an assisted living community after an incident can be stressful. You’ll have much less time to research locations and determine how to fund your loved one’s stay.
What can you do to start a discussion about assisted living with your mom or dad?
Research Assisted Living Options in Your Loved One’s Area
Understanding the assisted living industry will help you prepare for this conversation. Research facilities in the area where your loved one will likely want to live. This may be easier if they are close by because you can schedule tours of locations to see what they are like for yourself.
Even if your parent’s preferred location isn’t close to you, you can still gather a lot of information online or by contacting facilities.
Learn more about services, amenities, and living conditions in the places you are considering for your parent. You may find some benefits that your loved one would appreciate. For example, someone who is experiencing loneliness or has lost many of their peers may appreciate facilities with an active community and busy social calendar.
Others may have on-site services and businesses that would make your parent’s life easier, like podiatrists, barber and salon services, or restaurants.
You can also check reviews and other information from people who live in the facility or their families to get a better perspective on what daily life is like there.
Make a List of Concerns for Your Mom or Dad
If you are thinking about discussing assisted living, then you are probably worried about your parent’s health, safety, and mobility. Make a list of concerns that includes all of these. It can also help to talk to the rest of the family to ask them for their input.
Having a complete list can give your parent more to consider if they still refuse to talk about assisted living. This can be anything from fall risk and medication management to what will happen in a medical emergency if they are alone.
Include any age-related changes that you have noticed that would impact their ability to thrive where they are now. Things like an inability to perform activities of daily living are serious concerns that shouldn’t be ignored. Activities of daily living include tasks like dressing, grooming, walking, bathing, and eating.
Remain Positive During Discussions About Assisted Living
Maintain a positive attitude and outlook when talking about assisted living. You should feel that this is truly the best option for your loved one and convey that through what you say and how you say it. Your loved one will pick up on your tone and body language.
Focusing on the benefits of assisted living will help your loved one understand why the move will put them in a better living situation. While you shouldn’t ignore questions about any drawbacks, you should make sure they understand what they stand to gain by making the transition.
Seniors who move into assisted living are less likely to experience loneliness and depression. They also have access to additional support in case their health declines or frailty increases. It also helps with financial planning and lowers the risk of money mismanagement or fraud.
Ask Your Parent About Their Concerns, Questions, or Fears
A discussion should include a back-and-forth interaction. While you may do a lot of talking when you try to share information about assisted living, do not forget to listen to your parent. Ask them about their concerns or fears. Find out if they have questions.
Address the things they say or ask to help calm worries and guide them in the right direction. It’s ok if you don’t have the answers right away. You should be honest and tell your loved one that you will find the answer for them. Make sure you follow through, whether that involves internet research or calling an assisted living community to ask.
Addressing their concerns directly may help them decide to move into assisted living sooner.
Do No Argue, Demand, or Use Otherwise Negative or Aggressive Tones
Some older adults may feel defensive when assisted living is brought up. They may think you are calling them incapable or incompetent. They may also feel like you are trying to take away their independence.
Avoid arguments and keep your tone positive and upbeat. Do not sound aggressive, negative, or make demands. This isn’t the way to make progress. In an ideal situation, everyone should be on board with the move. It’s much harder to reach an agreement if you are both poised for a fight.
If you feel the conversation getting tense, it’s ok to take a break or try again later. A different approach may get better results. Take this opportunity to consider your loved one’s reaction and how you could broach the subject in a way that might make them less defensive and more likely to listen.
Reassure Your Parent That They Will Be Involved in Decision-Making
One of the biggest concerns seniors have about moving into assisted living is the loss of independence and autonomy. Reassure your loved one that they will be involved in any decision-making. Make sure they feel involved and heard throughout the process.
Even after they agree to move into assisted living, they may still have concerns. Continue to include them in decisions. Show them potential senior homes, let them choose items to bring, and make sure they have input on decorating and arranging their new accommodations.
Look for Organic Opportunities to Strike Up a Conversation
Try to use organic opportunities to strike up a conversation about assisted living. If it feels forced, it will only make the discussion awkward or even intrusive.
For example, if your loved one displays difficulties with activities of daily living or has trouble managing medications, this may present a natural opportunity to talk about assisted living. If your loved one suffers a fall, even if it didn’t require hospitalization or cause serious injury, it can open the door for a conversation.
You can point to these real examples of why your loved one could benefit from the care, services, and support of assisted living.
Prepare for an Ongoing Discussion About Assisted Living
The decision to move into an assisted living community isn’t one that’s made overnight. You should expect this to be a process that involves multiple conversations. Convincing a senior to give up the life they know to start one that’s unfamiliar in a new place takes time. It’s a process but keep at it and be prepared with the information your loved one needs to make an informed decision.
Vista Living Senior Care is available to provide information on our senior care services and amenities. Contact us now to learn more about discussing assisted living with your mom or dad.
An active social life isn’t just for young people. Senior citizens also benefit from socialization.
Human beings are social creatures. It is a part of our survival. We thrive through cooperation with others. Social interactions influence our mental and emotional wellbeing. This has a direct influence on our overall health.
Elderly people are at a higher risk for medical conditions. They are also more likely to experience feelings of loneliness and depression. As we age, we tend to experience more life changes. One of the biggest is the loss of those around us. Physical limitations can make it difficult to expand our social circle. While loved ones grow older and pass away, many seniors find it challenging to meet new people and remain socially active.
If you or someone you love is a senior, it’s important to be proactive about being social. Find opportunities to meet people and connect with friends. Whether it’s in person or online, interactions can help us live happier, longer lives.
Why is an active social life an essential part of healthy aging?
- Social Seniors Tend to Be Mentally Healthier
An active social life encourages better mental health. It helps lower the risk of depression. Spending time with others prevents feelings of isolation.
Seniors who socialize regularly are less likely to experience feelings of despair and worthlessness. Mental health has a significant impact on a person’s physical wellness as well as their outlook on life. Many elderly adults decide to live in a retirement community because of the benefits of social interactions.
- Socializing Encourages Seniors to Be Physically Active
Seniors who are social are also more likely to be physically active. Getting out and meeting people makes us move around. Even if you aren’t doing exercise as a group specifically, just the act of going to an event or visiting a friend requires moving.
This can have a profound effect on overall health. Physical activity reduces the risk and impact of illnesses.
Research has found a link between isolation and loneliness and many common health conditions like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. Staying social will reduce your risk of these and other medical problems.
- Social Activities Nurture a Sense of Belonging
Being such social creatures, humans want to feel like they belong. A person’s sense of belonging can be shaken as they face life changes like the effects of getting older.
Socializing helps elderly adults feel like they have a place where they belong. It allows them to connect with peers or strengthen bonds with younger generations. Assisted living communities are a great place to inspire a sense of belonging. These places offer activities and events that residents can join with a group of peers. Seniors can find others who they can relate to with similar life experiences or meet people who are different, adding variety to life.
- Friends Help Us Lower Stress and Improve Mood
The effects of aging along with personal commitments and health changes can increase stress. Socializing helps seniors reduce stress and improves their mood.
Talking with a good friend can help a person relax. Discussing concerns and worries helps us work through these feelings. It gives us a way to vent and help our minds think clearer as we navigate life. Building friendships provide an outlet for seniors to find healthy ways to work through what they are feeling and experiencing.
- Socialization Can Boost a Senior’s Self-Worth
Friends and loved ones make us feel better about ourselves. Getting older can make it difficult or impossible to do the things we once did, like work or engage in hobbies. This can lead to feelings of worthlessness that may worsen as a person ages.
Everyone deserves to feel worthy of living. The people around us remind us of what makes us unique and valuable. They give us meaning in our lives. Friendship requires give and take. Being a part of that makes a person understand that they are needed and wanted.
- Gives Seniors a Stronger Support System
As loved ones pass away, many seniors find themselves with little to no support system. This can become a serious problem if they require assistance.
Some seniors may not realize that they need help until something bad happens, like a fall injury. Staying socially active helps fortify a person’s support system. Having more people in a senior’s life gives them more places to seek support if they need it. It also means that more people are around to notice if anything changes in an elderly person’s ability to care for themselves and live safely and comfortably.
- Those Around Us Help Us Live More Purposefully
Having a purpose helps many people wake up in the morning. It motivates us to keep going or look for opportunities to improve.
As seniors age, they sometimes feel like they have no purpose. They may no longer work and may not be able to do things that they used to do. Building friendships give us a purpose. These relationships require give and take, making both people feel needed. Having another person who cares about you will give you purpose.
Social events and interactions also give us something to be excited about. Anticipating an upcoming event or activity gives a senior something to look forward to, which helps us feel like we have a reason to exist and be present.
- Seniors Who Socialize Have Increased Cognitive Function
Seniors who socialize have increased cognitive function. They tend to perform better on related tests compared to those who have less interaction with close partners.
A study conducted at the Center for Healthy Aging at Penn State found that adults ages 70 to 90 who had pleasant social interactions showed better cognitive performance the same day or over the next two days following the interactions.
A six-year study published in 2013 also found that participants over age 65 who had more social interactions were less likely to develop dementia. In the study, social interactions included trying new things, reading the newspaper, and spending time with others.
Research has also indicated that quality is more important than quantity. Simply having a lot of friends isn’t enough. Seniors need to have meaningful interactions that involve give and take to get the benefits of being socially active.
- Social Interactions Inspire Positive Living in Seniors
Social interactions inspire seniors to live more positively. Older adults who build strong friendships tend to have a more positive outlook. They are usually happier and experience a better quality of life compared to those who are isolated.
Meeting others and building relationships exposes us to new ideas and experiences. These enrich a senior’s life and help them stay positive as they age.
- Socially Active Seniors Tend to Live Longer
Scientists have studied longevity for generations. Current data has shown that a varied social circle helps many seniors live longer. This is primarily because of the many other benefits that come with being socially active.
The University of Texas at Austin researchers found that older adults who interact with a broader range of people were more likely to be physically active and displayed improved emotional wellbeing. These factors can add years to a person’s lifespan.
Assisted Living Communities and Senior Social Lives
One of the best benefits of moving into an assisted living community is the social opportunities. These facilities place seniors among a group of peers with built-in activities. No travel is required to participate since most events and groups are hosted on-site.
If you would like to learn more about how assisted living can strengthen a senior’s social life, let us know. Visit Vista Living Senior Care now to get in touch or schedule a tour of our community.
Assisted living communities provide conveniences and support that an elderly person doesn’t usually have at home. Many benefits come with moving an aging loved one into a senior care facility.
However, the process isn’t always that easy. For many seniors, the thought of assisted living is scary. It may feel like a loss of independence. The nursing homes of long ago have painted an unpleasant picture of what this type of situation looks like, even though it’s far from the truth today.
Assisted living communities provide everything an elderly person needs, even beyond medicine, food, and shelter. They provide socialization and opportunities to make new friends. They host on-site events and gatherings, which provide entertainment and enrichment. The modern approach to senior care is more holistic than it used to be. Assisted living isn’t just about health, it’s also about happiness and wellbeing.
While this may be true, it’s not always easy to convince someone that assisted living will offer them a better way of life as they age. Even as the activities of daily living become more challenging or even impossible to handle on their own, some seniors are reluctant to make the move.
When the time comes, it’s important to provide support for your loved one. They need reassurance that you will be there and that they will continue to live life as independently as possible after moving into assisted living.
What can you do to help your loved one adapt to life in an assisted living community?
Plan a Tour Before Move-In Day
Moving into a new place can be intimidating at any age. Getting familiar with their new surroundings will help your loved one prepare. Plan a tour of the assisted living facility before move-in day. Let your parent or grandparent see what’s available and get acquainted with the layout of the facility. Eliminating some of the uncertainty will make your loved one feel more confident.
You can also say hello to the residents and staff. Your loved one may find someone who they have things in common with before they move in. Homes like Vista Living Senior Care favor a cozy residential atmosphere that makes residents feel right at home.
Call us or visit our website to schedule a tour before your loved one moves in.
Bring Personal Belongings into their New Home
Transitioning to assisted living usually means downsizing. Seniors going from a single-family home to a room or apartment will likely have to offload many belongings. This can be a difficult and emotional process.
Plan to bring in some meaningful items that can remain with them in assisted living. The size and quantity will depend on available space. Choose their favorite decorations, collectibles, memorabilia, or keepsakes. These can be used to personalize their assisted living accommodations.
You may even be able to bring in small pieces of furniture, like a chair or nightstand. Talk to the assisted living facility if you have questions about what can be brought in.
Help Your Loved One Get Settled In
Even if you are paying someone else to move your loved one into their assisted living community, you should be there to help. Your presence will be calming and reassuring. You can also help your loved one set up their space once everything is in.
Arrange furniture however they like, hang up family photos, or display their favorite belongings. You can also help your loved one communicate their preferences when setting up their room.
Your presence alone can help your loved one feel reassured during their first day in assisted living.
Make Sure They Have Access to All Medical Needs
Make sure the facility is aware of your loved one’s medical needs. Some things may require the services of an outside medical professional. Find out how they will communicate with that professional and how services are rendered. Do they need someone to take them to appointments? Will the care provider come to the facility to administer services?
Also, verify that they have all their necessary medications. Find out how they will obtain refills when needed. Will someone have to go to a pharmacy for them? Does the facility offer medication management services?
Make arrangements as needed to ensure that your loved one will have access to the medical services and prescriptions that they need after they move into assisted living.
Look at the Events Calendar Together
Social events are a big benefit that comes with moving into assisted living. Loneliness and depression are serious concerns among elderly populations. These facilities help maintain emotional and mental health by encouraging a social lifestyle.
You can help by showing your loved one how to view the events calendar. Take a look at what’s coming up and see if there is anything that might be appealing. Most facilities offer a broad range of options, including holiday dinners, parties, fitness groups, workshops, classes, and more. These are opportunities for enrichment and help assisted living residents expand their social circles.
Talk About Fears, Concerns, and Worries
Be open to discussions about assisted living. Give your loved one a chance to sit down and discuss what’s on their mind. Find out if they have any fears, concerns, or worries related to the move. Knowing what is bothering them will give you a chance to find ways to address their concerns.
Talk about services and amenities that the facility has that address their concerns directly. In some cases, the concern may not be so easily overcome. For example, a loved one may worry about being forgotten after they move into assisted living. While you can’t immediately counter that concern, you can reassure them with promises to visit. You could even come up with a visitation schedule.
Plan to Visit Often and Remain in Contact
You may not be able to visit all the time, especially if you don’t live in the area. If that’s the case, you should also let your loved one know about other ways you can stay in touch.
The internet makes it possible to communicate from any distance away. Set up an email account for your loved one or show them how to use a chat program. After COVID-19, many facilities started using tablets with video call capability. Show your loved one that they can still reach you even if you aren’t physically present.
Find Ways to Keep Your Loved One Independent
Your loved one’s level of independence may vary from that of other people their age. Some seniors are very independent while others may need help with most tasks due to health conditions. Look for ways that you can help your loved one remain independent and feel in control of their life.
If they can no longer drive, find out what transportation services are provided by the facility or available in the area. If they enjoy cooking and can still do it, make sure there is a kitchen that they can use.
Safety should always come first, so consult your loved one’s doctor and assisted living staff if you have questions about what they can comfortably do on their own.
Encourage Your Loved One to Make Friends
Encourage your loved one to meet their neighbors and make new friends. Research has shown that people who maintain satisfying relationships with others tend to have fewer health problems and lived longer. They are also happier overall.
You can’t force your loved one to be friends with anyone, but you can create opportunities to build bonds with their peers. Plan a gathering in their room or a communal space and invite their neighbors. Ask ice breaker questions to help them find common interests and experiences.
Find Ways to Help Them Do What They Love
Hobbies make our lives more fun and interesting. Find out how you can help your loved one continue doing the things they enjoy. For example, if they love gardening, many facilities have raised garden beds for seniors to work in at their leisure. If none are available, you could also bring in a small planter that can sit on a windowsill in their room.
If your parent or grandparent loves art, find out what art classes and groups are on the event calendar. Provide them with art supplies like drawing paper, pencils, paints, or whatever they prefer.
Some hobbies may be harder to fit into an assisted living lifestyle than others. If your loved one used to go horseback riding, they may not be able to do it now. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take them to look at horses. You can also find books on horseback riding with photos or watch documentaries on horses and related topics.
There are many things you can do to ease the stress of transitioning to assisted living. Learn more by visiting Vista Living Senior Care.