It’s not uncommon for older adults to experience feelings of isolation. Social and support groups are beneficial in many ways to help seniors connect – or reconnect – with peers and create a sense of belonging to lessen their risk of developing symptoms of depression and dementia.
Why Join a Social Group
Loneliness and isolation are a growing health concern among older adults according to an article published by Time that cited a National Poll on Healthy Aging where one-third of the respondents reported feeling lonely. Feeling a lack of companionship and being socially isolated can have major negative health implications for older adults. Those who feel lonely and isolated tend to get less exercise, make poor dietary choices, have trouble sleeping, and are at an increased risk of developing depression and symptoms of dementia. Social groups are important for older adults because they provide a way to spend time with others who share your interests and make new friends.
Social groups can benefit the social butterfly and wallflower alike. Sharing a common interest gives the more extroverted individuals a chance to engage with people about something they are both interested in. For those who find making small talk difficult, a social group like a book club or a sewing group makes getting a conversation started much easier with built-in topics to discuss.
Social groups provide a sense of belonging and the camaraderie among group members improves our mood, boosts confidence, and keeps us connected and engaged with the world around us.
Should I Join a Support Group?
Everyone experiences challenges but not having to face them alone helps people cope better with stress and anxiety. Support groups bring together people who understand the complex emotions of dealing with health issues, the loss of a spouse, or being part of a minority group. Different support groups bring people together who are facing similar problems and provide a safe space for them to talk about what they are going through, explore their fears, and vent their frustration.
Support groups can help older adults better cope with the struggles they may face on their journey due to illness, a change in the mental or physical health of a loved one, dealing with discrimination, or recovering from a traumatic event. A support group is also a good place for discovering helpful resources, getting tips from others who have faced the same challenges and, most importantly, feeling accepted and understood.
Golden West Offers a Variety of Social and Support Groups for Residents
As an inclusive community dedicated to providing a safe and welcoming environment for seniors to live life to the fullest, The Towers at Golden West offers a variety of social and support groups to choose from that are conveniently scheduled and meet right on campus. There is a walking club, theater group, book club, and men’s and women’s discussion groups. These social groups make finding activities to do with others who share your interests easy and fun. The theater group performs with scripts in hand, so no need to memorize lines, and encourages everyone to share their flair for the dramatic. The book club has built-in conversation starters and the coloring group is for relaxing and chatting with others or just listening while you express your creativity.
Golden West also provides a safe place for support groups to gather and share their experiences and problems and let others experiencing similar issues know they don’t have to deal with them alone. Our “Affirming Us” LGBTQIA group and Parkinson’s support group have monthly meetings scheduled on the community calendar and a private space to meet.