It’s no secret that socializing is one of the keys to aging well. Connecting with others promotes a sense of well-being and reduces the likelihood of experiencing loneliness and depression for people of all ages, and the benefits may be most evident in seniors.
Though nearly all of us enjoy spending time with cherished friends and family, we may not realize how much it helps our mental and physical health. In addition to reducing stress and potentially strengthening our immune system, our positive relationships with others may help preserve cognitive function.
For older adults, research shows regular social interaction can slow or halt cognitive decline and reduce the risk of dementia. Those who are living with Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia also benefit from being around others, whether they’re in the early stages or more advanced stages of memory loss.
Physical activity is another crucial component of health and wellness for seniors, and social relationships often help in that regard, too. Friends can be a highly motivating source of regular opportunities to go for a walk or engage in some other low-impact activity, such as yoga.
Our Home-Like Setting Encourages Social Interaction
Each of our communities has multiple single-story villas in a neighborhood setting. Some are solely for assisted living residents and others are dedicated for memory care, where residents are grouped together based on their level of cognition or stage of dementia.
Each villa has up to 10 bedrooms with adjoining bathrooms, a great room where group activities and social events take place, and a spacious, fully equipped kitchen. The design allows for privacy while also promoting a family-like environment.
Residents have opportunities every day to participate in both one-on-one activities with staff and group activities. Simply being in the great room while these activities are taking place helps residents feel included, whether they actively participate or not. Sharing a meal with others who live in the villa also provides social stimulation. Being part of a group gives residents a sense of belonging, which has many positive health effects.
Family involvement is another key aspect of our social events. Residents’ family members and friends are encouraged to visit as frequently as they want and participate in any of our group activities. Many are here so often they bond with our staff and other residents’ relatives.
New Residents Quickly Feel at Home
At times, family members of potential new residents voice concerns about their loved one’s privacy, or they may wonder if their parent or spouse can adjust to living in a family-like setting with people they don’t know. We have multiple ways to address these concerns, and even the structure of our communities makes a difference.
Our villas are in a more intimate setting than you’ll find in many retirement communities, with an average of 10 residents per villa, and the same staff members are with residents every day and night. This helps new residents quickly feel comfortable with the people around them. Friendships form with ease, and a sense of camaraderie prevails.
Our low staff-to-resident ratios help as well by allowing us to learn more about each new resident, including their unique history and individual preferences. The additional information comes in handy when we’re developing a personal care plan for new residents and customizing one-on-one activities based on their specific interests and abilities.
Here’s something else that makes it easy for new residents to acclimate to their surroundings: Even though each of our communities is situated on four to five acres, there are no high-rise buildings with elevators or long, winding hallways to navigate. The land surrounding our villas is secured and beautifully landscaped, with pathways for walking, benches for relaxing, and tables for picnicking.
Being outside has a multitude of physical and mental health benefits. It can also improve short-term memory and attention span. Residents love being outdoors, so we have many of our group activities and special events on the patio when the weather is nice.
We understand why family members might worry about whether their loved one can adapt to a new lifestyle. As it turns out, they are usually amazed when their loved one thrives in the social environment we provide.
Special Perks of the Home-Centered Setting for Memory Care
Although significant memory loss isn’t always part of the senior aging process, the demand for memory care is increasing as more baby boomers make their way through their retirement years. Our neighborhood approach to senior living offers several advantages compared with traditional memory care communities.
- Our smaller size means we can group residents together in the same villa based on where they are on their memory loss journey and tailor their dementia care plans accordingly. This can enhance their quality of life and improve outcomes.
- Our low staff-to-resident ratios allow us to devote more time to each resident. This gives us ample opportunities to get to know the individual, not simply treat the symptoms. We’re also better able to include family members in the resident’s activities and keep them apprised of their loved one’s status.
- We’re able to provide more specialized training to our staff. We work in partnership with organizations, such as The Geriatric Institute LLC., that offer training in all aspects of behavioral care, from new admission screenings to personalized care plan development and non-pharmaceutical interventions designed to improve residents’ quality of life.
- Several of our communities have in-service educational sessions for staff up to twice a month, which we open up to family members, incoming new residents, and the community at large if they want to learn more about memory care.
- When we bring all residents together for group activities such as karaoke, or dancing and singing when we have live music, those who are in the more advanced stages of Alzheimer’s — even those who don’t communicate verbally — take their cues from other residents and often will participate at their own level.
- We can give residents special attention as they need it. For instance, some residents experience what is known as sundowning — restlessness, agitation, irritability, or confusion that begins or grows worse in the evening. We can involve these residents in activities that help them feel useful. Sometimes we’ll escort them to another villa in the community where other residents are still awake and active. The social engagement and change in scenery calms them so they can eventually sleep.
How Can We Help You?
If you want to learn more about what makes Park Senior Villas different from other senior living communities, we’d love the opportunity to talk with you and show you around any of our communities.
Contact us to set up a time to visit the location of your choice. We can also do a virtual tour if you prefer.
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