Health Benefits of Meeting and Making New Friends in Assisted Living

Older adults sitting at home alone may believe that happier times with friends and family will only remain a memory. Whether they shared an activity, meal or great conversations, these relationships added fullness to their lives.

Loneliness or social isolation can become more frequent as life circumstances change, such as the loss of family members and friends, geographic distances or chronic health conditions. Few transportation options can also make it difficult to leave home, meet new people and participate in activities. 

The negative physical, cognitive, and emotional impacts on a person’s life should never be underestimated. Families will want to be aware of the health consequences and prioritize finding opportunities for their loved ones to socially interact. 

The value of friendships and personal connections is that they not only bring happiness and joy but are crucial for overall well-being. Consider the following health benefits:

  1. Improved Mental Health: Studies have shown that social interactions can significantly decrease the risk of depression and anxiety among older adults. Friendships provide emotional support, reduce stress and foster a sense of belonging, all contributing to improved mental health.
  2. Enhanced Physical Health: The negative health effects of social isolation and loneliness in older individuals can impact blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, weakened immune systems, anxiety, depression and cognitive decline. On the other hand, friends often encourage each other to maintain a healthier lifestyle.
  3. Improved Cognitive Health: Social interactions have been shown to boost cognitive function, especially when compared to those who typically experience fewer connections. This suggests that increased contact with others might actually play a role in preventing or delaying cognitive decline.
  4. Increased Longevity: Research indicates that individuals with solid relationships often have an increased likelihood of survival over those with weaker social connections. The support systems provided by friendships can lead to healthier lifestyle choices and directly impact longevity.

Unfortunately, many people miss out on the benefits of social interaction when they grow older. Various factors can interrupt a person’s ability to socialize, including:

  1. Mobility Issues: Physical limitations can make engaging in social activities or meeting new people difficult.
  2. Lack of Transportation or Activities: There may be few transportation options for those living in more rural areas if they are no longer driving. There may also be limited activities or social events to attend.
  3. Loss of a Social Network: Losing friends or family members or moving away from a community can lead to isolation.
  4. Fear of Rejection: Some may hesitate to reach out to new people, worried about rejection or not fitting in.

Assisted living communities are uniquely positioned to address these challenges and provide opportunities for residents to create meaningful relationships. Take a look at just a few of the benefits you’ll discover:

  1. Built-in Social Network: Communities make it simple for their residents to form friendships and engage in a social network, with scheduled events, dining and even crossing paths in the common areas. 
  2. Structured Social Activities: From group exercise classes to art workshops and social outings, assisted living communities provide a variety of activities that naturally encourage interacting with others and making new friendships.
  3. Supportive Environment: The staff in assisted living communities are trained to make introductions and encourage interactions among residents — ensuring everyone feels included and valued.
  4. Safety and Accessibility: Designed with the needs of older adults in mind, these communities eliminate many of the barriers to socialization that may be experienced by those living alone. Accessibility and support help residents easily engage with the other residents. 

Friendships provide emotional enrichment of life’s experiences and offer a network of support during times that can also be challenging. For older adults, these relationships are instrumental in maintaining a sense of purpose, belonging and joy.

The challenges of making new friends in later life can be significant and lead to loneliness and isolation if unresolved. Assisted living communities offer a solution that not only provides health and wellness benefits but actively promotes forming meaningful, life-enhancing relationships and a socially connected future.

Assisted Living at Presbyterian Village North

At Presbyterian Village North, we are here whenever a helping hand is needed. Offering spacious studio, one- and two-bedroom residences, our residents personalize their choice to create the homes where they will live their highest quality of life.

Imagine a new life that includes a well-stocked library, a private dining room available for family celebrations and endless opportunities to make new friends and memories—all with the reassurance of living in a gated community with around-the-clock security.

We also provide the following services:

  • Licensed nursing staff onsite 24/7
  • Medication management administered by certified medication aides
  • Assistance with activities of daily living
  • Chef-prepared cuisine—meals per day with varied, all-day dining options
  • Dedicated Assisted Living Concierge
  • Special activities and social programs
  • Access to a full continuum of care
  • Expanded gym and aquatic center
  • Music and art programming
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy
  • Convenient access to mobile healthcare services onsite including dental, podiatry, optometry, audiology, mobile x-ray and lab, and dietician
  • Full onsite pharmacy
  • And so much more!

Presbyterian Village North supports our residents to remain as independent as possible while living an enriched life. Please call 214-355-9015 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personal visit to our community.