It is widely accepted and supported by research that social interaction can improve the quality of life of seniors living in retirement communities. From boosting your immune system to keeping your mind sharp to sleeping more soundly, social interactions are significantly advantageous.
Communities across the nation offer life-enrichment programs and social senior events to increase these positive effects. However, there is one social gathering that is often overlooked in this conversation.
Keep reading to find out how community meals can improve the social life of senior living residents.
Staying Socially Active by Eating Together
Sometimes making connections with other like-minded people is as simple as spending time with a group of people over a bite to eat or a cup of coffee. While most people think about physical health when they think about food, a meal can also be an opportunity to improve your social health.
In fact, the two can have an effect on one another. Studies suggest that people who frequently dine alone are at greater risk of heart disease and diabetes. Those who eat together in community tend to make healthier nutritional choices and also enjoy an emotional boost from the social connections they make.
A meal can become an opportunity for:
- Seniors to meet other residents with similar interests
- Already established social groups to connect
- Residents to engage in discussions about common interests
- Seniors to discuss common challenges they are facing
Most people are accustomed to mealtime being a set aside time to touch base with family and friends. Your loved one might be used to family dinners, church luncheons or dinner parties that may currently be less frequent occasions.
Since older adults are often dealing with a transition into this new stage of life and sometimes have recently lost someone close to them, they are at increased risk for loneliness.
Curating a mealtime experience that encourages the community aspect of retirement living can have a considerable impact on the mental and physical health of residents.
Enthusiasm for the Family Table Concept at The Village at Gainesville
When residents come in for a meal, especially if they are alone or in a party of two, we encourage them to join one of our family tables. Our family tables were created for two purposes: to accommodate groups of neighbors and friends who want to connect over a meal and to offer residents the opportunity to meet people they are not yet acquainted with.
For seniors, meeting people and strengthening community is one ingredient to a vibrant, engaged life. In this regard, our residents have positive things to say about the dining experience at the family table. They report that it allows them the time and space to spend time with their resident friends as well as to “break the ice” with new residents.
Reach out to us for a firsthand dining experience of our family table. Call 352-231-8706 to schedule your visit.