For many older adults, staying connected and engaged isn’t as easy as it used to be. They’re not going into the office anymore. Their kids have their own busy lives or have moved away. And mobility problems, hearing loss, or poor vision make getting out difficult. On top of all that, the coronavirus has made socializing even more of a challenge.
While social distancing has helped slow the spread of the virus, it’s increased the number of seniors who are socially isolated and feeling lonely. Social isolation and loneliness pose serious health risks for older adults, including a higher risk of developing heart disease, stroke and dementia. Left unchecked, isolation and loneliness can lead to depression and anxiety. It could even shorten your lifespan. Social isolation and loneliness are equivalent to the risk of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
How to Combat Social Isolation
If you know someone who’s struggling, pick up the phone and ask how they’re doing. The sound of your voice could be just what the doctor ordered. If friends and family have an iPhone, iPad or Apple computer, use FaceTime to make a video call. Or set up a Zoom account and invite friends to join you for a virtual get-together. Do whatever you can to connect with people safely. The importance of socialization for seniors can’t be underestimated.
The Benefits of Being Social
Staying connected and engaged reduces stress and anxiety levels, which lowers your risk for a host of age-related health issues, including cardiovascular problems, some cancers, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Being social may even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Keeping Connections Strong at Timber Ridge
Residents and staff at Timber Ridge haven’t let the pandemic stop them from interacting with friends and family. We’ve just had to do it differently to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being.
In the first months of the pandemic, residents were staying in their apartments, so we got creative in how we stayed in touch. Daily memos, emails, and updates on in-house TV channels and on the resident portal kept residents informed. Virtual meetings became a way of communicating in person. And staff went above and beyond to keep spirits high.
These are just some of the ways staff and residents stayed social — at a distance — in the first half of 2020:
Cinco de Mayo Celebration
How do you combat social isolation at the height of a pandemic? On Cinco de Mayo, Timber Ridge residents did it with margaritas and mariachi music. Margaritas and festive snacks were delivered to residents’ apartments. Then we celebrated with music played outdoors while residents toasted the musicians and one another safely at a distance from their balconies.
Residents from different floors came up with a theme to turn a walk into a fun parade. Costumes, signs and props are all part of the fun. Recent rallies have celebrated fishing and our hometown Mariners baseball team.
Staff set up a drive-thru spot near the main entrance where residents can drive up or walk up to get their lunch. Lunches are themed and everyone gets into it. Hawaiian BBQ, hot dogs and hamburgers, and traditional summer picnic fare have all been on the menu. Recently, residents put on a thank-you drive-thru lunch for our local first responders.
In May, residents were entertained from their balconies by a strolling bagpiper. More recently, our resident ukulele group took advantage of the summer weather and practiced on the Grand Terrace. Some of these residents had never played a uke before moving to Timber Ridge.
We haven’t let the coronavirus stop us from celebrating life’s big events. In June, Timber Ridge held a graduation ceremony for our 2020 staff graduates. Cards, flowers and words of wisdom were passed on from residents to the deserving grads.
June 11 was Disney Day at Timber Ridge. Staff members dressed up as their favorite Disney character to spread the magic. From pajama dance parties to cowboy karaoke, we’re always thinking up something to brighten residents’ days.
The Garden Angels, our gardening club, help keep our grounds beautiful. Masks, social distancing, and fresh air combine to make gardening at Timber Ridge a healthy way to connect and contribute.
A Strong Sense of Community is What Makes Timber Ridge Great
As our residents will tell you, there’s no better place to be than Timber Ridge.
Residents and staff look out for each other like family. Even when we have to be socially distant, we realize we’re all in this together to keep everyone safe.
To learn more about our healthy lifestyle, visit our Fitness & Wellness page. And if you like to hike, or enjoy a scenic view, our mountainside location is custom-built for you. For a brief overview of Timber Ridge, visit the About Us page.