There are a few transformative periods in a person’s life. These periods are measured by significant life milestones. Everything from starting the first day of kindergarten, or the first day of high school, graduation, going away to college, or finding your first real job; can all be events that shape what kind of person one may become. Many people see retirement as one of the last major milestones in their lives. Encouraging social interaction for seniors can help highlight additional milestones that exist beyond retirement.
When researching the problems which exist in senior living facilities one topic which seemingly always floats to the top is depression. Many people struggle to cope with retirement. The responsibilities of life, family and work seem to almost freeze in time. Instead of getting up and working hard to provide for their families, people often find that their responsibilities change dramatically. Often, retirement is looked at as the end of a journey, which has lasted the bulk of one’s life. But while retirement is a culmination of a life’s work, it is not the end of life itself.
Coping with change can be an acquired skill, but it is definitely a topic that many seniors can relate to. Unfortunately, everyone adjusts to change at different rates and manages the feelings associated with change in different ways. For some, their natural reaction may be to isolate themselves or turn toward alternative means of coping.
Encouraging social interaction for seniors is one way to address feelings of isolation, but other solutions may also exist such as prayer groups and counseling.
Combating Depression in Seniors
For seniors who feel isolated or lonely, combating depression is a real concern. As a natural part of the aging process, seniors may feel like their social circles are shrinking. Whether through decreased frequency of family visits or from friends passing away, social circles will continue to shrink if not for the opportunity to replenish these circles through new interactions.
Social interactions can contribute to keeping social circles populated and have a direct correlation to the willingness to participate in special events designed to help maintain physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing.
Community is Home
In order for a community to feel like home, social interactions also need to provide a sense of purpose. When this is done successfully it can help alleviate mental health symptoms directly tied to depression.
It’s human nature to want to leave your stamp, or some mark, on your environment. When people interact, there is an indelible mark on the environment or the other people who participate in the interaction. In many cases, this is achieved through special events where seniors can have an active role. Some communities encourage prayer groups, while others offer game nights or special excursions off of their campus.
Improvements to Look & Feel
Any improvements, which can be made to the physical environment, are key in helping senior living facilities to feel less institutional and more like home. Common improvements can include a fresh coat of paint, new furniture, adding pieces of art, or even incorporating plants as decoration. Décor changes do not require large and expensive construction projects to address the look and feel of the facility.
When a need for a refresh is identified, HUBERT® has a wide range of décor items and a few ideas to help add color and texture to bland and sterile environments. The HUBERT® customer service team is also happy to provide complimentary consultation services to help get develop and implement a new design approach.