“One of the major benefits offered by the better senior living communities is an active, socially engaging lifestyle. This is particularly true for leading continuing care communities that provide an array of social activities, programs and events for residents as their health status and capabilities may change over time” says Kathy Kammer, Senior Director of Community Relations at Williamsburg Landing in Williamsburg, VA.
“Why is this important? Because experts advise that our social environment plays a highly influential role in our continuing physical, emotional and cognitive well-being as we age. Personal relationships and regular interactions with others have proven to be key factors in achieving and maintaining a high quality of life.”
The Benefits of Social Engagement for Your Health and Well-Being
According to senior living writer, Elizabeth Bemis, “Most people understand the importance of encouraging young children to socialize, but it's easy to overlook the importance of socialization for older adults. Human nature leads us to crave fulfilling relationships with other people. As we age, however, life circumstances may push us toward isolation and loneliness unless we take proactive steps to cultivate new relationships.”
Engaging in social activities and group events while learning new skills enables seniors to bond with new friends while promoting physical and mental health. This can prolong their quality of life and overall life expectancy.
Specifically, there are valuable social benefits associated with the engaging lifestyles found in senior living communities, including:
- Improved Self-Esteem – Joining a group of people with the same interests makes life more fun. Looking forward to activities you enjoy can provide a reason to get up every morning and start the day with a positive attitude. Feeling helpful and needed can make a huge difference in anyone's life, regardless of age.
- A Sense of Purpose and Belonging – The combined advantages of active socializing can enhance quality of life considerably and add years to one’s expected lifespan. Older adults are able to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships when they are engaged in activities they love with others who have similar interests.
- Improved Physical and Mental Health – Spending time positively engaged with others is life-affirming and raises self-confidence. So does continuous learning and keeping up with current news and trends.
Anything that boosts self-esteem and self-confidence can contribute to a positive mental outlook, which in turn encourages the release of "good" hormones. These health-promoting chemicals help the body to fight off illness and disease while also making us feel better. Additionally, regular interaction and engagement with peers helps to keep the mind sharp.
How Lack of Socialization and Isolation Can be Harmful
In stark contrast to the social benefits of regular interaction with others, The National Institute of Mental Health states that depression caused by isolation can increase an individual’s chance of suffering a stroke by an astonishing 73 percent.
Likewise, the USA Today article, “Feeling lonely? It may increase risk of early death” reported on a study by the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. The researchconcluded thatloneliness is a risk factor for early death beyond what can be explained by poor health behavior.
Feeling lonely isn't only unhappy – it's unsafe. In fact, people who feel consistently lonely have a 14 percent higher risk of premature death than those who do not.
Other outcomes associated with loneliness and a lack of social interaction include:
- Higher blood pressure
- Increases in the stress hormone cortisol
- Less restful, restorative sleep
- Increased rates of depression
- A decreased sense of living a meaningful life
The Center’s Director, John Cacioppo, added, “Some people are happy to be alone, but most thrive in social situations where they enjoy support and rapport with others.”
Engage, Learn, Grow and Thrive!
Kammer says, “At beautiful Williamsburg Landing, we fully embrace the social benefits of senior living by providing a vibrant, socially engaging environment for our residents. Some of our independent living residents have described life in our community as ‘resort-style living’ or a ‘cruise ship lifestyle.’”
“Every day at Williamsburg Landing is brimming with opportunities to engage with others, make new friends, learn new things, grow as a person, improve your skills, knowledge, health, fitness . . . and just enjoy the life you lead.
“With so many cultural, educational, recreational and social events and activities to choose from – both onsite and offsite – Williamsburg Landing elevates your lifestyle and enriches your life – mind, body and spirit.”
Welcome to Williamsburg Landing
Looking for a vibrant, engaging and fulfilling way of life? If so, you’ll find it at Williamsburg Landing.
Nestled on 137 wooded acres along the serene banks of College Creek in Williamsburg, Va., Williamsburg Landing is the premier, not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) serving Williamsburg and its surrounding areas since 1985. With one visit, you’ll understand what makes Williamsburg Landing so special.
Williamsburg Landing is an ideal blend of beautiful landscaping and elegant, Colonial architecture. It invites residents to become part of its vibrant, active lifestyle and rest-assured in its award-winning medical care. It eases worries with maintenance-free homes and apartments with resort-style amenities and services. The community thrives with energetic, involved and friendly people who love to live here and the warmth of dedicated, committed professionals who love to work here.
With a past rich in tradition and a future filled with promise, Williamsburg Landing is the perfect place to call home – for today and tomorrow.