Tips For Keeping Seniors In Skilled Nursing or Assisted Living Communities Happy
When recently asked his secret to a long and happy life, skilled nursing resident Ralph Waters responded: “Strong connections to family and friends”. Adjusting to life in a skilled nursing or assisted living community is not easy for every senior, however. Some seniors need more social interaction than others. Ensuring that the health and social needs of your loved one are being met goes a long way in helping them transition into this new phase of life. Everyone wants to feel secure, happy, and loved, even in the later years of life.
Skilled nursing and assisted living communities offer great benefits for their residents including around the clock care, a safe living environment, and high-quality medical care. One downside to living in a senior community is depression. According to the CDC, about 50% of seniors living in nursing homes were diagnosed with depression in previous years. Regular visits and phone calls, and checking in periodically to ensure the nursing home staff is meeting the needs of your senior loved one can go a long way in preventing depression.
Why is it important to keep seniors happy?
Numerous studies conducted around the world suggest that being happy can greatly affect the mental and physical health of senior adults.
Seniors who have positive views on aging:
– reduced their risk of dementia by 50% according to a 2018 study conducted by researchers from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Yale, and the National Institute on Aging.
– saw a 19% lower mortality rate when compared to seniors who were unhappy.
– are 44% more likely to recover from serious illnesses or disabilities.
How to help seniors stay happy in senior living communities
Staying involved and maintaining close relationships is one of the best things you can do to help your senior loved one stay happy when living in a skilled nursing or assisted living community.
It is best from the beginning to help your loved one as they transition into a long term care facility. By doing so, they can make you aware of any issues they are having, and you can work to monitor those issues. You should strongly encourage your loved one to build new friendships and stay active within their new community. Both can go a long way in helping with this transition.
It is also important to monitor any health care services that are being provided to ensure your loved one is receiving the medical treatment they need.
We’ve listed below a few ways you can help to ensure your senior loved one is happy in a senior living community.
- Help ease the transition.
The move into a long term care facility is stressful on its own, so it’s important to help ensure the transition goes smoothly. Some senior adults may strongly feel that they can still care for themselves at home. Those with memory issues, like dementia or Alzheimer’s, may not fully understand the reason for the move.
It’s vital to explain to your senior loved one why moving into a nursing home will be beneficial for them. Bringing photos, prized furnishings and other much-loved objects can help their new space feel more like home.
- Tend to relationships.
Senior living communities strongly encourage residents to build new relationships and maintain old ones – both of which can promote happiness and improve overall health.
Strong relationships go a long way in keeping people happy and also helps to prevent mental and physical decline over time. It’s important for seniors to establish friendships with their new neighbors, and build relationships with the resident staff. Encourage your loved one to interact regularly with other residents, and make it a point to visit often. If you notice your loved one is not interacting with others, speak with the staff about your concerns.
3. Participate in activities.
Regular activity can help seniors maintain good mental and physical health. Participating in group activities also helps to build relationships with others. Most senior care facilities provide a host of various activities throughout the day, and although every individual will not want to take part in every activity, there is usually something for everyone to enjoy.
Quality of life and happiness go hand-in-hand
Senior adults can benefit a great deal from the assisted living or long term care staff, other community residents, and most importantly, family. By helping your senior loved one through this transition and continuing to check in on them regularly, you can help to ensure they are safe, happy and content in their new environment.
Elderberry Healthcare was established in 1989 to serve the needs of Madison County and the surrounding communities’ senior population. Many families in Madison County have experienced the compassionate care and attentiveness that our staff provides. Elderberry’s Assisted Living community provides a warm, welcoming and safe environment for those who, for whatever reason, should not live alone, but do not require skilled nursing care. Here, residents can live as independently as they wish, with the calm assurance that help is always available, should they require assistance with their activities of daily living. Residents may range from being very independent to being physically and/or memory-challenged. If the need ever arises, Elderberry’s Skilled Nursing Services are just down the hall. There is no need to move to a different building and the experienced and helpful administration is the same regardless of the level of care! Contact us today for more information.