06 Sep Three ways social connection keeps you healthy
One of the challenges of growing older is how much harder it is to maintain a close social network. Neighbors move away, health needs intensify, and mobility issues make it difficult to get out––these and other age-related changes can lead to isolation, loneliness, and depression.
On the other hand, social connectivity has been shown to increase health and longevity. That’s why Park Springs is designed to facilitate staying active and socially engaged. Throughout our Independent Living and Assisted Living communities, you’ll find countless ways to build a thriving network of relationships that foster purpose and a sense of belonging, which is known as “social capital.”
So, let’s take a look at three powerful ways that our opportunities for social connection can keep you healthy:
1. Better physical and mental health
Staying socially active can benefit both body and mind. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) reports that socially active adults tend to have lower levels of interleukin-6, an “inflammatory factor” associated with age-related conditions including, “Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer.” And in relation to mental health, a study found that cognitive abilities declined 70% more slowly in individuals who had frequent social connections compared to those who had little social contact with others.
At Park Springs, we have over 50 Member-led clubs and special interest groups to help you build a supportive social network. From ball-room dance and bridge to petanque and the Park Springs Chorus, and so much more, it’s easy to make new friends and find others who share your interests. “Staying busy is the secret to life. There’s always something going on here. We have a wonderful Community Life Services Director and she does an outstanding job keeping everyone happy.”- says Helen W., Member
And in Independent living, there are group gatherings and a variety of dining venues that serve as lively gathering places where Members form strong relationships. In Assisted Living, Members bond as they come together for art therapy, music therapy, sit and fit exercise classes, and mealtime or happy hour in their own Harvest Restaurant dining venue.
2. Increased longevity
Spending time with others could be even more vital to life than you think. One landmark study of roughly 7000 people, beginning in 1965, found that “people who were disconnected from others were roughly three times more likely to die during the nine-year study than people with strong social ties.”
The strong bond between neighbors and with our staff is one of the reasons often cited by our Members as the thing they love most about Park Springs. Member Carl H. says,
“Everybody here on the staff is very friendly and they get to know you by face and name very quickly. They treat you like you’re family.”
3. Less risk of dementia and improved symptoms
It’s also been proven that staying socially connected can help slow cognitive decline, and improve many of the symptoms of dementia. One study found that “socially interacting with a person with dementia for just one hour per week can significantly improve their quality of life and reduce agitation levels.”
In Assisted Living, our unique Spirit Household Model of Care promotes this type of social interaction through a close-knit, homelike environment. Both River and Farm Households are centered around a common kitchen where Members can gather over meals prepared by a Homemaker (Personal Chef). And in the River Household, those with mild cognitive impairment participate together in Brain HQ, a brain fitness program that includes 29 exercises to help improve attention, memory, brain speed, people skills, navigation and intelligence.
It’s clear that social connections can make all the difference in your health, well-being, and quality of life. And that’s why Park Springs is focused on providing the best opportunities to stay connected at every stage of life.