The Pew Research Center reports that 27% of adults ages 60 and older in the United States now live alone. Whether it’s because of necessity or choice, living alone poses a number of concerns for seniors such as safety, accidents and perhaps one of the most dangerous – social isolation. Why is social isolation so dangerous? It can put seniors at greater risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and even premature death according to the National Institute on Aging. Here’s how boutique senior living can help you protect your loved one from social isolation.
Understanding Social Isolation
Many people equate social isolation with loneliness, but they are actually very different! The AARP Foundation defines loneliness as the feeling or perception of being alone, while social isolation is actually quantifiable by the size of your social network and/or ability to access it. Essentially, social isolation is being psychologically or physically detached from support groups of family, friends and community. The AARP Foundation equates the health risks of prolonged social isolation to the dangers of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
The Impact of Social Isolation
Social isolation affects nearly 1 in 5 seniors according to AARP. And it’s easy to understand why with the amount of time seniors spend alone. For example, seniors who live by themselves, on average, spend about 10 and a half hours alone each day and more than a third (37%) of those seniors report spending all their measured time alone according to the Pew Research Center. In addition, Pew Research Center found that among those who live with someone other than a spouse, the average amount of alone time each day is still seven and a half hours.
What’s worse, this was before COVID-19! As seniors continue to be asked to remain at home during the pandemic, not only are more of them being impacted, time alone is also likely increasing as well creating more risk of social isolation.
Benefits of Boutique Senior Living
Boutique senior living offers a solution that could be much more appealing to your loved one than the institutional feel of large communities, making for an easier transition from home. Here you’ll find the amenities and quality care of large senior living communities plus the comforts of home as care is provided in a residential setting: a single-family home specially crafted for assisted living or memory care! We like to think of it as the best of both worlds, especially when it comes to avoiding social isolation.
Our boutique senior living homes are designed for up to 16 residents max and feature a nearly unheard of 1 to 5 caregiver to resident ratio. This means your loved one will have the personalized care they deserve along with the social connection they need without it being overcrowded as is often the case in large senior living communities.
Residents here enjoy a full range of activity programs that include fitness, enrichment and social opportunities. We’re still enjoying outings too, they’re just virtual now! Even aspects of daily life like dining offer social connection as we eat family-style on one our signature farmhouse tables. Plus, our large yards offer ample space to allow for socially distanced family visits.
And with amenities such as laundry and cleaning services, complimentary Wi-Fi, transportation and safety features such as fall alert pendants, state-of-the-art video monitoring and keypad entry/exit access, not only will your loved one avoid social isolation, they’ll be able to thrive!
For more information on boutique senior living at Shepherd Premier, schedule a virtual tour today or call (224) 333-6247 to speak to a team member.