Technology in Today’s Assisted Living Communities

technology for the elderlyMore and more often, today’s assisted living communities are relying on technological advances to help improve quality of life for residents. Technology not only increases resident care and satisfaction, but it also enriches the lives of both the residents and their families.

Today, seniors are more tech-savvy than ever before. According to a study from the Pew Research Center, among adults age 65 and older, 30 percent of them own a smartphone, 32 percent of them own a tablet and 55 percent own a computer or laptop. These devices are now part of our daily lives, and can be used not only to keep us connected to others, but also to improve our physical and mental health.

The Best Technology for the Elderly in Assisted Living

Smartphones, tablets and computers are not the only types of tech items being used at assisted living communities. Technology is continually changing the way we live, keeping us healthier, living longer, and staying engaged with loved ones and our communities often. In fact, research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) reveals that the market for aging technology is expected to grow from 2015’s $24.4 billion market opportunity to $42.7 billion by the year 2020. Through personal health technology or elderly monitoring devices, the staff at an assisted living community are able to stay more closely connected to the residents, keeping them as safe and as healthy as possible.

Some of the main types of technology for the elderly that is regularly used in assisted living communities throughout the country include:

Wireless internet. A 2012 study found that 90 percent of today’s retirement communities are utilizing some type of wireless technology, with 36 percent of those communities providing social networking access specifically for the residents.

Tablets or iPads. Tablets offer an inexpensive way for residents to play games that promote cognitive wellness, read books, listen to music and more.

Smartphones. Smartphones can be easier for a senior to use than a typical cellphone, as the screens and buttons are usually larger. Plus, apps can be downloaded to smartphones that can perform important functions, like providing GPS location data and medication reminders. Seniors can also use smartphones to connect with loved ones who are not geographically nearby, even allowing them to see them “in person” by using Skype or Facetime.

Video games. Studies have found that older adults who play video games are healthier both physically and emotionally. While many of the benefits of video games contribute to better cognitive functioning, gaming systems like Nintendo’s Wii also help improve mobility among the residents.

Health tracking devices. Wearable fitness trackers help monitor the activity levels of residents, and also can help encourage healthy eating and exercise.

Nurse call technology. A wireless system allows residents to call for assistance from the bedside or bathroom should they need help. This technology can also include elderly monitoring devices like surveillance cameras, door or window alarms, location data to locate a resident in need more quickly, medication reminders and more.

American Senior Communities has a variety of assisted living options available at our locations statewide. Contact us today to request more information.

 

Successfully Recovering from Knee Replacement Surgery

knee replacement surgeryWhen you’ve chosen to have an elective surgery like a total or partial knee replacement, you’ve probably made that decision in order to relieve some daily pain or limited mobility that is keeping you from activities you once enjoyed. Knee replacement surgery is performed with the goal of relieving that pain and improving movement, and is often considered after you’ve already made lifestyle changes or tried medications, all to no avail.

The good news is that knee replacement surgery is the most common elective surgery in the United States. In fact, around 400,000 Americans have total knee replacement surgery every year, with the average age of patients being 68 years old. Plus, the surgery has excellent long-term results, with about 90 percent of the surgeries lasting for at least 10 to 15 years. Most individuals are able to get back to the active, independent lifestyle they are accustomed to in a relatively short amount of time.

Knee Replacement Recovery – What to Expect

Throughout your knee replacement recovery period, therapy and rehabilitation will play a crucial role in successfully getting you back on your feet. You will heal faster and can greatly improve the chances for long-term success.

Here is what you can expect in the weeks following your knee replacement surgery:

Week 1

Rehabilitation will begin the day after your surgery. You’ll be on your feet and using a walker for assistance, as a major component of your recovery relies on you getting up and using your knee as soon as possible. A physical therapist will help you by providing strengthening exercises and showing you how to get in and out of bed, a chair, go up a flight of stairs, etc. as well as discuss your home environment and what modifications may need to be made. By the time you are discharged from the hospital, your knee should already be feeling stronger and your activity levels should be increasing.

Week 2-3

You should be in less pain by the second and third week of your knee replacement recovery period, and will be relying less frequently on assistive devices to help you get around. You will also still be highly involved in your physical therapy routine, but should be on fewer and less powerful pain medications.

Week 4-6 and Beyond

A month after your knee replacement surgery, you should notice a dramatic improvement in your knee and mobility. You will no longer require the use of assistive devices to get around, and should feel as though you’re really getting back to your normal routine. You’ll even find that many of the activities that were becoming so difficult pre-surgery, like climbing stairs, cleaning the house, and walking for longer distances are far easier to perform post-surgery.

Three to four months after your knee replacement surgery, you should be almost 100 percent pain free, enjoying all the activities you previously enjoyed, whether that was walking, golfing, dancing, etc. However, most physical therapists will recommend you refrain from high-impact exercises like running or aerobics, as these types of activities can damage your knee replacement or the tissue surrounding it. A typical full recovery from a total knee replacement surgery is three to 12 months. If at any point throughout your recovery you feel any stiffness, swelling, pain or unusual movement in your knee, it’s important to contact your doctor immediately.

American Senior Communities can help you recover faster from knee replacement surgery with our Moving Forward Rehabilitation program. Contact us today to request more information.

 

Can Your Medications Cause Alzheimer’s?

medications and Alzheimer'sIt is not yet fully understood what causes Alzheimer’s disease in most people. Research shows genetic mutations may cause early-onset Alzheimer’s, but late-onset Alzheimer’s is usually due to complex changes in the brain occurring over decades. Other potential causes include your lifestyle, environmental factors and family history. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important to learn as much as we can about the causes and what may put you at higher risk. This way, you can recognize the telltale Alzheimer’s symptoms and signs, which allows you to start treatments that may slow the progression of the disease.

Medications and Alzheimer’s Disease

Regarding the environmental factors we mentioned, recently, studies have linked certain medications to a heightened risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Both over-the-counter and prescription medications can lead to mild cognitive impairment and memory loss, which are key early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

Some of the medications that may be tied to an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease include:

Anticholinergics

The most recent studies regarding medications and Alzheimer’s disease surround particular drugs that have anticholinergic effects. Medications with these anticholinergic agents are known to block a brain chemical called acetylcholine, which is involved in memory and learning. Acetylcholine transmits nerve signals throughout the brain and nervous system, and these medications are usually taken for everything from allergies and sleep disorders to bladder problems and motion sickness. In those age 65 and older, anticholinergics have side effects like confusion, memory loss and worsening mental function.

The problem is that some drugs are classified as anticholinergic, while some simply have anticholinergic properties. Common medications with these properties include drugs like cimetidine (Tagemet), ranitidine (Zantac), celecoxib (Celebrex), diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and even amoxicillin. If you have any concerns about the over-the-counter or prescription medications you’re currently taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Benzodiazepines

A recent study revealed that older adults who regularly use sedatives for insomnia or anxiety may be more at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. These types of medications include popular prescriptions like diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax) and lorazepam (Ativan), all of which are usually taken for a longer term. The study found that people who had been prescribed benzodiazepines for more than three months were 51 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than individuals who had never taken them. When these medications were taken for six months or longer, the risk almost doubled.

However, another study suggests that benzodiazepines actually do not cause Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, this study revealed that benzodiazepines may be prescribed to treat Alzheimer’s symptoms like insomnia, depression and anxiety before an actual diagnosis has been given.

It’s important to note that if you have been prescribed certain medications, even if they may contribute to memory loss, you should not stop taking those prescriptions until you consult with your doctor.

American Senior Communities offers memory care assisted living for those in the early to middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Or, find person-centered memory care through our Auguste’s CottageContact us today to request more information.

 

Happy Thanksgiving 2016 from American Senior Communities!

happy thanksgiving 2016Gathering around the table with family and friends to give thanks for all of life’s many blessings is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season. We eat delicious food, enjoy each other’s company, and get ready to welcome in all the wonder and joy of the season ahead.

How to Get into the Holiday Spirit this Thanksgiving in Indianapolis

After the crumbs have been cleared from the table, the dishes are all put away, and everyone has allowed their food to digest, you might be looking for ways to really get you into the holiday spirit. The Indianapolis area has plenty of activities planned throughout the season for both the young and the young at heart! Here’s a list of a few of them:

Lights at the Brickyard – Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Experience more than 2 million lights in 400 displays at Lights at the Brickyard at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway! This brand new event is sure to become a family tradition. The 1.7 mile driving experience includes crossing the famous “Yard of Bricks”, as well as festive holiday celebrations and racing themed installations throughout the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Opening weekend was November 18th, and it runs through December 31st.

Jingle Rails – Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

The Eiteljorg Museum helps you kick off the holiday season with their Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure exhibit, which opened last weekend. Watch working model trains wind through downtown Indianapolis, then head through the national parks of the American West.

Festival of Trees – Historic Madison

Starting the day after Thanksgiving, head to Historic Madison for one of the nation’s largest holiday displays. The Festival of Trees features over a hundred beautiful, shimmering trees that tower over guests; it’s an event that is an annual favorite of visitors from all parts of the country.

Indianapolis Zoo’s Christmas at the Zoo

Round up the little ones and get to the Indianapolis Zoo and get surrounded with the beauty and magic of the holiday season. The Indianapolis Zoo was the first zoo in the country to host a holiday lights event, which began in 1967. Opening November 25th and running weekends through December, you’ll enjoy twinkling lights, hot beverages, and visiting the seals, sea lions, walrus, tigers, bears and more!

Circle of Lights – Monument Circle

The Circle of Lights at Monument Circle has been a tradition for 54 years. On November 25, festivities begin at 6 p.m. with the lighting of the world’s largest Christmas tree, complete with around 5,000 lights and 52 garland strands streaming from Indy’s 242-foot tall Soldiers and Sailors monument. It’s considered one of the top five must-see Christmas trees in the nation by Travelocity!

American Senior Communities wishes all of our wonderful residents and their families, as well as our staff members, a very Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you enjoy all the magic of the holiday season ahead!

American Senior Communities offers a variety of senior care services throughout our locations.  Contact us today to request more information.

 

6 Tips for Dealing with Insomnia in the Elderly

insomnia in the elderlyOne of the most common misconceptions about aging is that the older we get, the less sleep we need. Unlike a newborn baby who requires around 16 hours of sleep throughout a 24-hour cycle, adults need anywhere from seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night. This number does not change for seniors, even though they do experience a shift in their sleep-wake cycles, going to bed earlier and waking up earlier.

However, insomnia in the elderly is also a common occurrence, and it affects around 50 percent of adults age 60 or older. Insomnia is defined as a condition where one has difficulty falling and staying asleep, or feeling like you aren’t getting enough sleep. Normal sleep occurs in several stages, from light, dreamless sleep to periods of active dreaming called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. As we age, our sleep patterns will change, and the amount of time you spend in each stage of sleep will change. But, if you aren’t getting a good night’s sleep, your health can start to suffer.

What Causes Insomnia in the Elderly?

A variety of things can cause insomnia in the elderly, although many of them can be treated. It can be caused by certain health conditions like cardiovascular disease, COPD or asthma, chronic pain from arthritis or osteoporosis, or sleep apnea. Your environment can also play a role in poor sleep; if your bedroom is noisy, not dark enough or not at a comfortable temperature. Medications can create side effects that disrupt sleep, an irregular sleep schedule, and stress and anxiety can also affect how well you are sleeping.

A few of the most common insomnia symptoms include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep.
  • Lower quality sleep.
  • Awaken at least three times throughout the night.
  • Day/night confusion.
  • Changes in circadian rhythm – going to sleep and waking up earlier.

Insomnia Treatment for a Good Night’s Sleep

If you aren’t getting quality sleep on a regular basis, there are a few insomnia treatments you can implement to promote healthy sleeping. For instance, you can:

  1. Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Go to bed around the same time every night. Involve yourself in soothing activities, like reading or taking a hot bath to relax and get sleepy.
  2. Make sure your sleeping environment is comfortable. Your bedroom should be a peaceful environment, free of loud noises and distractions. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and the temperature is set a bit lower overnight to keep you cool.
  3. Eliminate evening exercise. While daily exercise is important, it should be done earlier in the day. Do not exercise within three hours of bedtime.
  4. Nap earlier in the day. If you can avoid taking a daily nap altogether, that’s recommended most. However, if you do nap, do so earlier in the day so you’re sufficiently tired when the evening hours roll around.
  5. Avoid caffeine within three hours of bedtime. Caffeine, other stimulants, and alcohol should not be consumed within three hours of your designated bedtime. Alcohol may make you sleepy initially, but you could wake later in the night.
  6. Clear your mind before going to bed. If possible, try to deal with your worries of the day before getting in bed. Turn off your mind and focus on peaceful thoughts.

If insomnia continues to be a problem for you, schedule a visit with your doctor. There may be medications you can try for a short time to get on regular sleeping patterns, or your doctor may recommend other techniques or possibly a sleep study to allow you to get the best night’s sleep possible.

American Senior Communities offers a variety of senior health services throughout our locations. Contact us today to request more information.

The Main Risk Factors for Diabetes

Diabetes Risk FactorsAccording to the National Diabetes Statistics Report from 2014, 9.3 percent of the entire population in the United States has diabetes. That’s over 29 million people in the country, both diagnosed and undiagnosed, with diabetes.

Having type 2 diabetes means your body isn’t using insulin the way it should. This is called insulin resistance, and to combat it, your pancreas makes extra insulin. However, over time the pancreas will no longer be able to keep up; it will not be able to produce the amount of insulin your body requires to keep blood glucose at the right levels.

Who is Most at Risk for Diabetes?

It’s important to know some of the main diabetes risk factors to know if there’s a possibility you could develop the disease. Getting the proper diagnosis early, along with making certain lifestyle changes, can help reduce your risk and avoid the complications that come with type 2 diabetes.

Some of main risk factors for developing diabetes include:

Family History: If diabetes runs in your family, and you had a parent or sibling who had type 2 diabetes, your risk increases.

Being Overweight: If you’re overweight, especially around your waist, you are more at risk for diabetes. The extra fatty tissue makes your cells more resistant to insulin.

Level of Activity: Your risk for type 2 diabetes increases the less active you are. It’s never too late to start adding exercise to your daily routine to help control your weight. Plus, physical activity uses up glucose as energy, making your cells more sensitive to insulin.

Age: Those over the age of 45 are more at risk for diabetes, and the risk increases the older you get. This could be due to the fact that you become less active as you age, losing muscle mass and gaining more weight.

Race: While it’s not clear why, diabetes is more common among African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans.

High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is linked to an increased risk for diabetes, especially when blood pressure is over 140/90 mm Hg.

Prediabetes: When your blood sugar levels are above normal, but you don’t yet have diabetes, this means you have prediabetes. Making lifestyle changes like increasing exercise and altering your diet can help avoid prediabetes turning into type 2 diabetes.

Low Good Cholesterol Level/High Triglyceride Level: If your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is lower than it should be, your risk for type 2 diabetes increases. Triglycerides are another type of fat carried in the blood, and if triglyceride levels are high, you’re also more at risk.

Gestational Diabetes: If you had gestational diabetes during pregnancy, or delivered a baby over nine pounds, you are more likely to get diabetes in the future.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition in women that is characterized by irregular menstrual periods, obesity and hair growth, and has been known to increase the risk for type 2 diabetes.

It’s important to visit your doctor regularly, especially if you’ve been experiencing any of the signs of diabetes, like sudden weight gain, increased feelings of thirst and tiredness, increased urination, pain or numbing in your legs and feet, blurry vision, etc. Your doctor can assess your risk for diabetes and create a plan to keep you in the best health possible.

American Senior Communities offers a variety of senior health services throughout our locations. Contact us today to request more information.

Happy Veterans Day 2016

Veterans Day 2016Veterans Day is held every year on November 11, no matter what day of the week it falls on. Not to be confused with Memorial Day, which is held in May and honors the nation’s fallen veterans, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military.

Veterans Day became a national holiday back in 1938. It was originally known as Armistice Day and was dedicated to the cause of world peace and a day to reflect upon the heroism of those who died in our country’s service during World War I. In 1954, President Eisenhower signed a bill to change the name to Veterans Day, and the goal became to not only remind Americans to dedicate themselves to the cause of peace, but also to honor those who have served or are currently serving our country in any and all wars.

5 Ways to Honor Veterans this Veterans Day

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, as of September 2015 there were more than 21 million veterans in our country. Throughout the year, it’s important to show appreciation to the past and present members of the military, but Veterans Day provides a special reminder. If you’re wondering what the best ways are to honor the veterans in your life, we have provided a few suggestions:

Attend a Veterans Day event. Throughout the country, activities and parades are held in celebration of Veterans Day. In Indianapolis, the Veterans Day parade begins at Michigan and Pennsylvania Streets immediately following the Veterans Day service. More than 80 units march in the parade, which starts at 11:45 A.M. and is followed by a reception, dinner and awards ceremony at Primo Banquet Hall in the evening.

Fly the flag properly. Veterans Day presents the perfect opportunity to display our stars and stripes at your home. The U.S. Flag Code presents the proper rules for flying the flag, so make sure you’re following and observing them.

Donate to an organization that supports veterans. A wide variety of organizations provide support and appreciation to members of the military utilizing charitable donations. For example, the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides rehabilitation, activities and career counseling for wounded veterans and their families, or Homes for Our Troops, which uses volunteers to build or adapt existing homes to best meet the needs of injured veterans.

Send a care package. Operation Gratitude offers a variety of ways for assisting and honoring veterans in 2016.  Volunteers for the organization send more than 200,000 care packages each year, from Deployed Troop Care Packages for those currently serving to Wounded Warrior Packages for veterans recovering in military hospitals.

Visit a veteran. Of course, one of the easiest ways to honor a veteran is to visit one and provide your time and companionship. Ask about their service and their favorite moments serving the country. Sometimes just listening to their stories provides comfort and support.

American Senior Communities honors veterans throughout the year at all our locations through a variety of events and activities. We thank you for your service!

Find a variety of senior care services throughout Indiana and Kentucky at American Senior Communities. Contact us today to request more information.

 

National Family Caregivers Month 2016

national family caregivers monthEach November since 1997, National Family Caregivers Month is celebrated as a way to recognize and honor family caregivers across the country. Every year, the Caregiver Action Network chooses the theme and organizes the celebrations, providing materials like posters, sample proclamations, media kits and more. The goal of National Family Caregivers Month is to raise awareness of issues family caregivers face daily, commend their efforts, and provide education and support for them.

This year, National Family Caregivers Month reminds us that the first rule of taking care of others means taking good care of oneself. While providing care for an aging loved one can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, family caregivers often find their duties leave them little time to tend to their own well-being. This means their physical, mental and emotional health can suffer, leading to caregiver stress syndrome and a variety of conditions that affect their overall quality of life.

“Take Care to Give Care” – The Importance of Respite Care

The theme of 2016 National Family Caregivers Month is “Take Care to Give Care.” Family caregivers are encouraged to put themselves first from time to time and pay attention to their own physical and mental wellness, get proper nutrition and enough sleep. If a family caregiver isn’t as healthy as he or she can be, it won’t be possible to provide the best care to an aging loved one. Then, everyone’s health can become compromised.

It’s true that family caregivers often put themselves last. Some of the daily challenges they face include assisting loved ones with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing and eating, as well as mobility. Lifting and moving a loved one around the home can be a demanding task alone. Plus, family caregivers often must administer medications, or sometimes even intravenous injections- activities they may have no formal training to complete.  Studies show that one out of five caregivers report they have sacrificed their own health while caring for a loved one.

National Family Caregivers Month reminds caregivers that they must remain strong and healthy, and take care to give care. A few of the ways family caregivers can focus on themselves include:

Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Family caregivers are encouraged to eat a healthy diet and get the proper amount of exercise. Proper nutrition helps maintain strength, stamina and energy levels and can also keep immune systems strong.

Join a caregiver support group. Locate a caregiver support group in your area to connect with others who are facing the same challenges and issues. Caregiver support groups provide a chance to share common experiences, learn coping strategies, form special friendships and even offer the possibility of helping others.

Seek respite care services. Respite care services can often be thought of as a luxury, but when family caregivers add up the expenses of the health issues they may face due to caregiver stress syndrome, not utilizing these services can be even costlier. Respite services allow caregivers a chance to recharge and attend to their own needs, which is vital to be the best caregiver possible.

Consider an assisted living community. While family caregivers often consider moving their loved one to an assisted living community as a last resort, assisted living can improve their loved one’s quality of life! Many caregivers are faced with feelings of guilt, but it’s important to remember that the decision to move a loved one to an assisted living community was made because he or she needs full-time care in a safe, comfortable environment.

American Senior Communities offers respite care services and a variety of assisted living options throughout our communities. Contact us today to request more information.

 

Occupational Therapy for Activities of Daily Living

Occupational Therapy for Activities of Daily LivingOccupational therapy is an essential part of a rehabilitation program, as it allows individuals to get back to a productive, independent lifestyle. Over one-third of occupational therapists work with older adults who have been affected by illness, injury, disability or mental health condition. In fact, occupational therapists are often advocates for the elderly, working with local community groups and governments to ensure each is doing their part to allow seniors to maintain as much independence as possible.

Occupational therapy for seniors has a special focus on what the individual is still capable of doing, rather than what they cannot do, and helping them overcome their limitations or challenges. Occupational therapists also educate family caregivers, helping them find the support and assistance they may need to continue to provide the highest quality care for their aging loved ones at home.

ADLs and Occupational Therapy for Seniors

Often by utilizing adaptive tools, occupational therapy incorporates meaningful activities to improve life skills and promote participation in everyday life. Through education, rehabilitation techniques and exercise, occupational therapists encourage the re-learning and improvement of fine motor skills, strength and dexterity.

The occupational therapist will first evaluate and assess the condition of the individual. The therapist will determine which types of activities can be performed without any assistance, which need some assistance, and which cannot be completed at all. Then, they will develop a personalized plan of care based on the nature and degree of the dysfunction, as well as what special services and therapeutic interventions may be needed.

Unlike physical therapy, which focuses on restoring muscle strength, flexibility and range of motion, occupational therapy is key to restoring abilities to perform basic activities of daily living (ADLs), also called self-care activities. Being able to complete these ADLs successfully allows seniors to remain as independent as possible, hopefully getting them back to their pre-illness or pre-injury lifestyle.

Some of the activities of daily living occupational therapy helps improve or restore include:

  • Eating and feeding oneself
  • Bathing and showering
  • Mobility – getting up and down, moving around while performing activities
  • Personal hygiene/grooming – brushing teeth, washing and combing hair, etc.
  • Toileting
  • More complex daily activities like cooking, writing, cleaning, etc.

Occupational therapists can also aid in creating a safe home environment for the senior to return to after a stay in a skilled nursing facility. They will visit the home and note where modifications may be needed to make life easier, such as installing grab bars or a seat in the shower in a bathroom, as well as recommend assistive devices or home improvements that will help seniors complete tasks and live as safely as possible.

As therapy progresses, the occupational therapist will regularly re-evaluate the personalized care plan and make whatever adjustments may be needed. They will observe which goals are being met and which are not, and change the intervention plan to adapt to the areas that need more work.

American Senior Communities offers occupational, physical and speech/language therapy through our Moving Forward Rehabilitation program. Contact us today to request more information.

Building Relationships in Your Later Years

How to Make New Friends in Your Senior YearsMaking friends and building relationships as a child and young adult was fairly simple. You had opportunities to meet new people at school and through extracurricular activities, and then later in the workplace. As you raised your family, you met other parents and neighbors as your children all played and grew up together.

However, as a senior, you might find that making new friends isn’t quite as easy as it used to be. After retirement, the opportunities to get out and meet people may have dwindled a bit, and access to the friends, neighbors and co-workers you used to spend time with is more limited, too.

Aging and Relationships: Avoiding Social Isolation in the Elderly

Experts agree that maintaining relationships in your later years is key to overall quality of life. In fact, studies show that those seniors who successfully avoid becoming socially isolated have better physical, emotional, and mental health- and may even live longer. They are less likely to experience chronic conditions like osteoporosis or cardiovascular problems, suffer less of the depression that stems from loneliness, and have a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.

How to Make New Friends as a Senior

Because avoiding social isolation in the elderly is so vital to overall health, finding ways to get out there and meet others in your later years is definitely worth the effort. While it might seem difficult, there are actually a variety of ways for seniors to make new friends. For instance:

Take part in social activities. For those seniors who recently moved to a senior living community, taking part in weekly social activities and events provide an easy way to meet others who share similar interests. These communities recognize the importance of staying socially active, and offer a variety of ways to get residents involved with their peers.

Pursue your interests. Enjoy playing golf or tennis? Look into joining a local golf or tennis club. Are you an avid book reader? Visit the library and see if there are any book clubs you can join. Or, consider taking a class on a topic that has always interested you at a local college or community center. You’re guaranteed to meet others who share similar hobbies or interests, which provide an easy way to make new friends. Join a gym. Staying physically active is also extremely important as you age. Look for a senior fitness program in your area or take some classes at the local YMCA. This way, you’ll start seeing familiar faces every week.

Consider volunteering your time. Hospitals, museums, churches, animal shelters and more are always looking for extra hands to help out. Volunteering allows you to meet new people while doing something worthwhile in the community.

Get a part-time job. A part-time job provides an opportunity to get out of the house, even if it’s just a few hours each week. Find a job that appeals to you, whether it’s working a cash register at a coffee shop or unpacking boxes at a retail store; you’ll get to meet new people and make a little extra money, too.

Accept invitations from others. If someone you recently met invites you out to lunch or over for coffee, give it a chance. You might be surprised to find out how much you have in common! Stay in contact with old friends. If your friends aren’t close enough to visit often, utilize technology to keep in touch. Create a Facebook page, Skype, or send some emails to easily connect with the friends you don’t get to see in person regularly.

American Senior Communities has a variety of senior healthcare services available throughout our locations. Contact us today to request more information.

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