5 Important Ways to Stay Connected in Retirement
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The Importance of Feeling Connected

Feeling connected creates a sense of belonging and can even generate an increased feeling of purpose. Without it, one may feel lonely and isolated. That’s why it is important to increase connectivity as we grow older. Children reach adulthood and leave their parents with an entirely new sense of independence. For a while, many people find this new sense of freedom and time to be nice. However, after largely identifying as a parent and primary caregiver, they may find themselves looking to start new connections as their children create lives separate from the immediate family and even start families of their own.

There are many varying circumstances that can occur as we age that often make us feel more lonely and less connected. Long-time neighbors may start to move away, family might move out of town, or adult children just get busy. However, one great way to plug into a great new network of friends and neighbors is by moving to a continuing care retirement community (CCRC). CCRCs, or as we like to call Homestead Village, a Life Plan Community, create opportunities to form new connections and bonds with others to make life more fulfilling and enjoyable.

It’s for this exact reason that Homestead Village’s life enrichment staff create an activities schedule that includes group activities promoting connectivity, continued education, and whole-person wellness. By doing so, community members will feel more comfortable, thrive where they are, and live better lives with the additional benefits of a sense of connection.

Why Connectivity is Vital

The CDC reports one in every four individuals, age 65 and over, suffer from social isolation. Additionally, according to the National Institute of Aging, social isolation may lead to significant health issues including: 

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Weakened immune system 
  • Anxiety
  • Depression 
  • Cognitive deterioration 
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Alternatively, when older adults take part in meaningful activities that promote connection, these risks are significantly reduced. Studies have found better cognitive function, enhanced mood, and longer lifespans for aging adults who take part in social and group activities. 

When adults of retirement age are invested in something greater than themselves, they have a sense of belonging. However, finding the right life plan community that cultivates this connectivity and provides activities that make us feel more fulfilled, like volunteering, spiritual gatherings, wellness opportunities, and education & art experiences, is key.

Five Ways to Promote Connections

Finding this sense of belonging may be scary and sometimes difficult, especially for aging individuals who are moving into a new retirement community. Change can be difficult for anyone, so this is completely understandable. However, new changes bring about new opportunities and experiences in life. Because of this, we believe moving into a life plan community should enhance your way of living and allow you to form connections more easily.

To help get the ball rolling, here are five different ways that aging adults can participate in group activities that promote connectivity and life enrichment.

Find Something That Interests You 

What hobbies do you have? What interests you most? Is there something that you’re excited about? Consider these things and search through your resources with a simple Google search to see if there is an existing group that also shares these common interests. A few examples may be a spiritual study group, card club, photography class, or even volunteering for an organization or cause you’re passionate about. If your passion is unique and doesn’t have an existing group, consider creating one! 

Try Something New

As individuals move into the retirement phase of their lives, they will often find themselves with significantly more time on their hands. Perhaps now is the time to utilize those extra hours in the week to learn a new skill, or try out a new hobby. 

Another key component of this is doing it within a group setting or with a friend. It may be learning how to play a different game, picking up a dance class, or learning meditation techniques. There is no wrong answer; give a chance to whatever it is that you’re eager to try.

Join a Fitness Class

Some retirement communities offer fitness facilities. Whether it’s a yoga class, weight lifting, or swimming, you’ll not only improve  your physical health—which has all of its own benefits—but you’ll also find like-minded individuals, with whom you can relate.

If your retirement community doesn’t offer these amenities, you may also consider joining a fitness club in the area.

Adapting to Technology

Technology has a way of making the miles disappear. Even if your friends or family don’t live in the same community, or even the same state as you, you can still create a sense of connection by using technology to your advantage. Whether it’s creating a social media account to keep up with the latest pictures of the grandkids or using video calls to have face-to-face conversations with friends that reside in other areas, technological advances have made it easier than ever to still feel connected. In addition, technology is a fantastic way to foster potential new connections as well. Consider joining an online community that shares the same interests as you.

Explore Your Options 

Understanding what resources each continuing care retirement and life plan community has to offer is imperative to where you spend your retirement years. As you may know, there are a variety of continuing care retirement communities in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Be sure to do the due diligence when considering your immediate and long-term care needs. Finding a retirement community that offers life enrichment programs, encourages connectedness, and increases a sense of belonging is imperative. 

Life Enrichment Programs at Homestead Village 

We pride ourselves in creating a community at Homestead Village. We offer an array of life enrichment options that foster meaningful connections and meet the needs of all of our community members. Our philosophy at Homestead Village is to Thrive Where You Are®. We believe offering a variety of options for our community residents allows for them to experience new opportunities they have yet to explore, as well as take part in activities they’ve loved for a lifetime. And now, Homestead Village’s “TouchTown” app makes it easy to view activity calendars and weekly menus, to register for activities, to see other resident profiles, and more!

Here are just a few of our life enrichment opportunities: 

  • Education: round table history discussion, lunch and learn with local professors, book reviews, health talks, featured series
  • Arts: arts and crafts groups, woodshop, Homestead Harmony Chorale, concerts, theater
  • Leisure: bridge, Friendly Fellowship, men’s breakfast outings, theme dinners, Wii bowling, trips to the Fulton Theatre, golf outings, and more!
  • Fitness: walking track, aquatic classes, cardio/aerobic classes, exercise classes, Tai Chi, pickleball
  • Shopping: Central Market, Park City, grocery stores
  • Outreach: Linus Project, volunteer opportunities, Giving Tree (Water Street Ministries), Operation Christmas Child, Alzheimer’s Association
  • Spiritual: Bible studies, Sunday worship, worship services representing several different traditions

If you’re interested in learning more about Homestead Village and the services we offer, schedule a campus visit here that fits your schedule or request a brochure today by calling 717-923-5459. Our knowledgeable and friendly staff can’t wait to see if Homestead Village is the right Life Plan Community for you!

 

FAQs:

Why is a sense of connection vital to older adults?
– 25% of individuals aged 65 and up suffer from social isolation, which can lead to serious mental and physical health issues like:
– High blood pressure
– Heart disease
– Obesity
– Weakened immune system
– Anxiety
– Depression
– Cognitive deterioration
– Alzheimer’s disease

What life enrichment activities and community activities are available to me at Homestead Village?

– Round table history discussion
– Lunch and learn with local professors
– Arts and crafts groups
– Woodshop
– Golf
– Homestead Harmony Chorale
– Men’s breakfast outings
– Theme dinners
– Exercise classes
– Volunteer opportunities
– Spiritual services and study groups
– And so much more!

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