At first, 70-year-old Patricia shunned the idea of moving out of the comfortable home she’d lived in for decades into a senior housing apartment. Her daughter Anne tried to change her mind, explaining that the home was too big — and too expensive — to take care of herself anymore. She also gently told her mother that she didn’t have much of an active social life. Living alone watching television was not the way that Anne wanted her mother to enjoy her well-earned golden years.

After thinking about the conversation with Anne for some time, Patricia finally agreed to make the move to senior housing. A few weeks after her mother settled in, Anne visited and was pleasantly surprised to see how much her mom changed for the better. Patricia, who considered herself a loner, was playing cards with new friends, seeing a show, and enjoying the weekly dancing lessons.

Senior housing should offer a full range of organized social and recreational events and wellness programs. And your loved one should not be limited to staying at the facility or in their rooms. They should be able to venture out to such fun activities as golf, fishing, movie theaters, shopping and restaurants that are in close proximity.

Studies have shown that if seniors stay socially active, they are likely to live longer, which suggests that social engagement is a very important health factor for seniors.

As a result, this increased social activity typically leads to making new friends which, the Mayo Clinic said, also has its own benefits for seniors. These include increasing their sense of belonging and purpose, boosting happiness and reducing stress and improving self-confidence and self-worth. Seniors with strong social support can also reduce their risk of depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI).

Some seniors may find it hard to make new friends or might be reluctant to try something new. Moving into senior housing is moving to a new neighborhood where you might not know anyone and might end up fighting a bit of loneliness. Encourage your loved one to participate in one new activity and see how it goes. As in any new environment, once they take that first step, they will realize the benefits of the move and wonder why they didn’t do it sooner.

Nye Health Services offers seven communities in Eastern Nebraska and Wyoming, structured to meet the needs of their residents from independent living to skilled nursing, memory care, and now home care services. A family-owned company with a rich history of connecting with the people they serve, Nye Health Services is open for visits anytime. Call 402.753.1400 to schedule an appointment at locations in Fremont, Lincoln, South Sioux City, Norfolk, or Jackson Hole, or visit  NyeHealthServices.com  for more information.

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