In an increasingly technological world where innovation and automation is everything, it is easy to lose sight of the importance of community and connection. As we continue to age, this sense of community becomes even more important to our mental and physical health. In order to maintain and protect ourselves as we grow older, it is crucial we continue to have a community.
The chance to build strong ties, friendships, and support systems never stops being important, and with more systems being put in place to assist aged care residents in this regard, care and community have never been more accessible. For those that are looking to help a loved one through the aged care process, keeping this need for community in mind can make all the difference in the world.
Aged care is a great example of how socialisation can play a positive role in mental health as we age. From experience speaking with providers of aged care, we have seen that continued socialisation with others, post assisted living, can have beneficial impacts for family members. As life continues to get busy, it can be hard to find time to engage with and stimulate your loved ones mentally. Aged care centres and assisted living homes are a great way to ensure that as they age, we ensure that sense of community around our loved ones.
These centres create that community each and every day through interactions with other residents, activities and even trips outside the centre. By creating this sense of community, the aged care centre is ensuring that they are able to maintain connection with others, which in turn avoid isolation and loneliness which can present significant problems in old age.
Having touched on the mental health aspects of community engagement as we age, there is also the alternate side of that coin, physical fitness. Communities help keep people engaged as they age. Isolation and loneliness are endemic without a community around you, but so is inactivity.
In older age, lack of movement can cause a raft of health issues, so it is crucial that a community is established to help keep older individuals moving. It could be something as simple as walking to the supermarket as a group, going to an aerobic fitness class designed for older individuals. Maintaining a sense of community and comradery for physical fitness can help ensure motivation remains. Pledging to make yourself accountable to someone else when it comes to your physical fitness can significantly improve your health as you age.
As we age and transition into a new lifestyle, it can be easy to feel some friction in the switch of routine. If you are no longer working, it is easy to perceive yourself as no longer contributing. By building a community of age appropriate people around you, it can help to ease that transition. It can also help breed opportunities, for example volunteering as a group or opportunities to take on new hobbies. Communities can really help give you back that sense of purpose or contribution to the world. As an individual the motivation may not exist, but as a community it is easier to see the measurable difference you can still make to the world.
Despite growing old and some feeling as though they now have the life experience they wanted, feeling challenged is still a crucial element to life as we age. Whether it is a mental or physical challenge, the mind requires stimulation right throughout life. Creating a community around you can assist in this challenge through activities and continued learning such as library trips, education seminars and even something as simple as trivia. Communities are a great way to maintain that mental challenge, as well as the physical challenge your body needs.
As we continue to age in life, priorities change and it can feel like some things, such as mobility, socialising, and routine start to fall out of our control. This is why maintaining a healthy community around yourself is very important. Mental and physical health can be improved significantly with the presence of a community of friends and like-minded individuals around you. Humans are social animals, and that is one thing that doesn’t change with the times.