As the days get shorter and the weather turns cooler, it’s important for older adults to stay socially engaged with friends and family and not let factors like inclement weather foster feelings of loneliness—especially as such feelings are shown to be detrimental to our health, even more so than smoking, obesity and inactivity!
Studies show that older adults who are socially isolated have a higher risk of developing depression and anxiety. People who are socially connected are less likely to develop physical and mental health problems, and they live longer on average than those who are socially isolated. Retirement communities offer older adults, whose social networks often get smaller, many ways to socialize each day through activities and broaden their social networks.
Sébastien Chartier, General Manager of Chartwell L’Unique had an idea last year. “Initially, I wanted to organize a beach party for our residents to enjoy the sun and relax for an afternoon,” he says. Fast forward two years later, and the initial 2016 Beach Party where 200 or so residents from Chartwell homes in the Laurentians first gathered and its surroundings has now become Chartwell’s largest seniors’ gathering in all of Quebec.
It may seem inevitable that we will become less active, both physically and socially, as we get older—especially when faced with mobility or health challenges. But people like Rose show us how our lives can actually expand as we get older, and how we can become active and joyful again.
Many older adults who decide to remain in the family home may find their world getting smaller as the years go by. I frequently talk with older adults about the potential for the home they have thought of as their “palace” to turn into a place that becomes less and less accessible they age. A health challenge or mobility issues can make it harder to get out and enjoy the things they love to do. Difficulty driving may also make it harder to get out and socialize. And, of course, our Canadian winters can add to these challenges!
Intergenerational relationships between young adults and older adults are mutually beneficial. These relationships provide both parties the opportunity to learn new skills, share their stories and to receive advice about situations in which they find themselves. In fact, in a 2009 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, it was noted that increased social activity is associated with better physical abilities in seniors.
At Chartwell Chatsworth Retirement Residence in Kelowna, BC, giving back to the local community is a philosophy woven into the fabric of the home. Both staff and residents are genuine believers in supporting worthy causes that positively impact the community as whole, and continue to raise thousands of dollars per year through annual fundraisers and Chartwell’s H.O.P.E. (Helping Others for Purposeful Engagement) vocational program.
At Chartwell Carrington House in Mission, BC, there’s nothing residents look forward to more than an activity calendar chock-full of interesting events and entertainment. Keeping in mind their active and social clients—many of whom enjoy a good party or outing, particularly when there’s opportunity to socialize and try something new and exciting—the Lifestyle team at Carrington House put a great deal of time and effort into events that will impress.
February is the season of love and romance—not to mention cards, cupids and couples. But even if you’re not in a romantic relationship, or have recently lost a spouse, Valentine’s Day is also a reminder of why we should celebrate the importance of friendship and connecting with loved ones in our lives.
There’s no escaping it—winter is here in all its frosty glory. Bundled up in bulky coats and carefully navigating icy sidewalks, many retirees may feel the coldest season has more of a grip on their lives than they’d like. But winter doesn’t have to be hazardous to your health. It’s important to get out and about when conditions allow, but it’s also fine to spend more time indoors, participating in pastimes that are fulfilling and enjoyable.