11 Apr Importance of Social Support in Elder Care – and How to Maintain Community Connections
In the days, weeks and months following the transition to assisted living, many seniors experience a decline in support from family and friends. They also tend to lose their community connections and interactions, such as frequent chats with neighbors. As this occurs, the deterioration of their strong social support network can have a profoundly negative effect on their health and wellness. With an understanding of why this occurs and how to prevent it, families can provide the seniors in their lives with the perfect level of support.
Health Benefits of Having a Strong Social Support Network
When seniors have a strong social support network, they can remain resilient in facing challenges and handling stress. This helps protect against anxiety and depression from developing while living in an elder care home. Keeping stress under control also helps to preserve their memory and improve longevity.
With social support, seniors receive encouragement to engage in healthy habits, such as eating right and exercising. They may be more willing to sit down for full meals and participate in assisted living community activities, for example, when encouraged or accompanied by people in their social network.
Common Barriers to Receiving Social Support
While living in an Angelus Oaks elder care home, seniors are often unable to leave and venture out on their own to visit family and friends. As a result, seniors have to wait for people to visit them, which can be difficult to arrange due to distance or work schedules.
Technology can bridge the gap by allowing for video chats with family and friends, but many seniors lack access. They may not have computers, tablets or phones that have the right software and internet connections. And even if they do, they may lack the know-how to set up the programs and use them effectively to connect with their friends and family. This form of contact, while helpful, cannot fully replace physical visits either.
Ways to Maintain Social Connections While at a Nursing Home
Family and friends are the first line of defense in protecting seniors from a decline in social support. Even a quick visit to seniors at Redlands assisted living community can make a huge difference in how they feel that day. Depending on their health needs, seniors may even be able to go on outings with their friends and family from time to time. Visitors can also assist seniors in using technology to stay in touch with their loved ones who live far away.
Assisted living communities also help seniors build their social support network by hosting activities and fostering the development of friendships. These activities bring people in the elder care home together to play games, share their stories and stay active. Friends and family can also participate in these activities during their visits.
Friends and family can partner with the staff at elder care homes to help create the social network seniors need to thrive. Through this partnership, it is possible to help seniors stay in good health and great spirits while residing in assisted living communities.