We all want to live healthier and longer, but research is quickly understanding that health and longevity extend far beyond healthy food and regular exercise. For seniors especially, social connection is a key aspect to aging well.
- Strong social connections can:
- Improve physical health
- Strengthen mental and emotional wellbeing
- Strengthen the immune system (helping you recover from faster from illnesses)
- Lower anxiety and depression
- Build positive self-esteem and empathy
Unfortunately, many seniors find it difficult to build strong connections. Loneliness is a growing epidemic among seniors. One in four are considered to be socially isolated, and that’s before social distancing of COVID-19 had us staying home and avoiding groups. Seniors tend to isolate for a variety of reasons:
- Left jobs/careers mean less daily social interactions
- Loss of spouse, friends or family moving away
- Chronic health conditions or mobility challenges
Planning for connection in retirement makes good sense for seniors and is a key element to life at Immanuel. Supported by staff and programming, our residents continue to find ways to build strong connections, even during a global pandemic.
Warren and Carol of Immanuel’s Arboretum Village had big plans for retirement. Socializing with friends and trips to a cabin in Colorado topped the list. But when the unpredictability of 2020 derailed their plans, the couple was determined to make the most of it. They proved there’s always opportunities to connect by mastering Zoom. They now meet with a few dozen members of their church in Colorado every Sunday and connect with friends across the country with a few clicks of a mouse. Despite social distancing, the couple says they don’t feel lonely or isolated. Read more about their story.
Needle and Thread
Brought together by an affinity for needle and thread, The Landing Sewers is a service club ready to meet the needs of the community. Joining talents with service is what makes this group so special. The group started by sewing blankets for Project Linus, a non-profit organization that provides donated comfort blankets to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or are otherwise in need. To date, the group has donated over 3,000 blankets to the cause.
During uncertain times, the sewers were called upon for new projects to protect themselves and others. After creating more than 100 face masks, the group worked with donated fabric and bed sheets to make gowns for health care providers. And now, the volunteers will turn their attention toward creating sustainable feminine hygiene packs for girls in Africa.
The members of Arboretum Village’s calendar club had a bold idea. Why not celebrate the beauty of aging? Why not celebrate each other?! So the ladies of Arboretum Village agreed to take it off in support of a few good causes. They created a pin-up style calendar featuring the beauty of aging and put them up for sale to benefit the Immanuel Community Foundation and other Arboretum Village projects. Photoshoots became girls’ days out with food, drink, fresh make-up and new hairstyles. Residents in their 80s and 90s came alive in amazement of the photos that depicted incredible beauty inside and out. With over $4,000 raised for their causes, these women showed that sometimes bold ideas can bring out the beauty in all.
(Calendar photos were taken in 2019)
For more ideas on lretirement planning and living your best years yet, download our retirement living guide.