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Assisted Living Helps Fight Loneliness in Older Adults

Whether they’re engrossed in a book, taking a walk in the woods, or enjoying activities like knitting or crocheting, many seniors enjoy moments of solitude. But loneliness in older adults is not the same thing as enjoying some quality alone time. A recent survey by the AARP Foundation  found that nearly half of older adults, particularly those with lower annual incomes, reported feeling lonely on a regular basis. The survey of over 3,000 older adults was designed to see how loneliness relates to social connectedness—or lack thereof.

For seniors, certain life circumstances can set the wheels of loneliness in motion, such as the loss of a spouse, a change in physical condition, loss of mobility, or social isolation. Loneliness in older adults can lead to depression, difficulty sleeping, muscle aches, and other health problems. In fact, lonely adults are associated with nearly $7 billion in additional Medicare spending annually.

Older adults often experiences bouts of loneliness when the majority of their time is spent alone. However, research suggests that seniors who live with family members are lonelier than those who live on their own. Having a lot of people around does not necessarily mean seniors will avoid loneliness. The quality of the social interactions counts over quantity.

While there isn’t a magic fix for avoiding loneliness from time to time, there are things seniors can do to help avoid a “lonely lifestyle.” Living at an assisted living community like Grand Oaks of Jensen Beach gives seniors an opportunity to create solid friendships with other residents and staff members. These relationships are mutually beneficial and can help alleviate feelings of loneliness in older adults.

Assisted living also provides seniors with all of the benefits of owning a pet, without having to actually own a pet. Dogs and cats are wonderful at alleviating anxiety, feelings of depression, and curbing loneliness in older adults, and many communities allow pets on their premises. Our resident dog, Duncan, is here nearly every day, and therapy dogs from the local Humane Society make regularly scheduled visits. Together, they bring lots of furry hugs and slobbery kisses for our resident dog lovers.

It’s important for seniors to discover what they need in their life to avoid loneliness. Seniors who regularly feel lonely may want to consider the benefits of moving to an assisted living community. Speaking with a trusted friend or healthcare provider, taking up a new hobby, or participating in community events may also help. Whatever it is, loneliness in older adults doesn’t have to be a normal part of aging, and making an effort to change it will benefit your health and happiness for years to come.

For more information or to schedule a complimentary tour of Grand Oaks of Jensen Beach, call 772-209-3119 or visit www.grandoaksjensenbeach.com

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