How Senior Living Communities Combat Depression and Loneliness in Older Adults

A major life change is never easy, especially when it comes to your living situation. Moving to a senior living community can feel daunting. For some, they fear they’ll lose independence, a long-time home, routines, or friendships. However, quite the opposite is true! 

At Three Pillars in particular, we take great pride in easing the transition pain points and creating a community that allows you to live life just as you wish. Our Life Plan Community is an all-encompassing living environment that not only offers well-rounded programs, services, and lifestyle offerings, but combats depression and loneliness, as well. 

“In a January 2022 survey of residents at Three Pillars, just 2% self-reported feeling lonely at any time. This is staggeringly low in comparison to a study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) that the CDC references – they report that more than 33% of adults age 45+ feel lonely.”

So, what creates the difference at a senior living community? Why is it that older adults in this environment report low levels of loneliness and depression? 

Here are 4 major reasons:

1.    Social Interaction
The CDC points out that “Social isolation can lead to loneliness in some people, while others can feel lonely without being socially isolated.”

It certainly makes sense, then, that one great way to address loneliness is to increase social interaction. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people can instantly provide a feeling of security and trust. Whether you are a social butterfly or apprehensive at first, simply being in a social setting can reduce feelings of loneliness.

For some, that means leaving the apartment once a day to pick up mail – at a minimum, you’re guaranteed to see at least one person who will exchange a smile and greeting with you in the hall. For others, just the peace of mind knowing there’s a neighbor on both sides of the wall helps to feel connected.

Beyond that, at Three Pillars you’ll find a comprehensive schedule of activities, a wellness center, and community events that offer something for everyone. Being present at just one program where you’re surrounded by peers can instantly reduce loneliness. From there, it’s easy for most individuals to find that one group or friend. Opening dialogue can go a long way to feeling socially connected. 

Many older adults also enjoy finding a roommate to share space with at a senior community. Whether it’s a dear friend, sibling, adult child, or special partner, this can also be a great way to build-in social interaction and combat loneliness.

2.    Exercise
Whether you can work out daily or simply get outside for some steps, every little bit counts. There are countless psychological and physiological benefits that mild to moderate physical daily activity brings. 

At Three Pillars, there are exercise machines, equipment, and staff resources to cater to any workout regimen, both within each living environment and at the central Wellness Connection.
In addition, the nearly 300 acres our campus is situated on features wooded land, the scenic Bark River, and miles of paved paths to explore, bike, and walk on. A bit of physical activity daily can go a long way in boosting your mood, and you’ll certainly run into fellow residents along the way. 

Exercise alone won’t cure depression or make it disappear, but it can ease or help combat it.

3.    Creating a Home
While an apartment or room at senior living is not the home someone spent years of their life in, we can’t minimize the fact it’s “home” now. Every effort can and should be made to recreate that feeling of home that’s comfortable to the resident. 

Special touches like adding plants, family photos, furniture from your previous space, or even memorable keepsakes, can go a long way in feeling comfortable. Often, they help instantly generate happy memories of life experiences, which call special relationships to mind and can keep loneliness at bay.

4.    Routines
Life at a senior community allows the resident to create a stable routine that’s packed with the things you enjoy. With many of the standard worries out of the way, you can focus on yourself and fun. From daily walks to group activities, there are plenty of great options, and establishing a routine brings structure and purpose. 

Senior living communities aren’t a cure for depression, but the ability to have social interaction, daily exercise options, a personalized home, and a healthy routine can go a long way. With friendly, supportive staff and a vast network of residents to become your friends, Three Pillars is eager to welcome you – contact us to learn more and experience it for yourself on a tour!