We all enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend, a phone call with a grandchild and a picnic with a loved one. When we spend time together, we’re intuitively doing something we’re hard-wired for as human beings: Connection. It matters for our social, emotional and physical health.
What the research says
More and more research shows how important it is for people, especially seniors, to remain socially active. In one study, Yvonne Michael, an epidemiologist from the Drexel University School of Public Health, found that seniors living in areas with more social capital had significantly higher physical mobility scores than those living in less social neighborhoods.
In a study by Bryan James, an epidemiologist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, 1,100 seniors without dementia were followed for 12 years. “The rate of cognitive decline was 70 percent less in people with frequent social contact than those with low social activity.”
A few weeks ago, we looked at the many ways The Village at Woods Edge has been working heroically to keep our residents connected and engaged through the COVID-19 pandemic. From keeping our campus clean, ensuring social-distance measures, delivering meals, increasing communication, offering recreation at a distance and even offering traveling happy hour, we made our residents’ health and safety a priority and kept in touch.
“We are really a small-town community. In these past weeks, it’s been so evident that we need each other,” said Billie Turner, Executive Director. “I’m proud of how our team rallied for our residents because we know how very difficult it was to have to restrict campus visitors. I’m also proud of our residents who have made the most of this and found creative ways to connect.”
While the state of Virginia is moving forward with its phased response to COVID-19, we remain vigilant about health and safety, but also dedicated to keeping our community engaged. We encourage you to reach out, but maintain social distance. Here are a few ideas:
- Have a virtual Happy Hour by video conference with friends.
- Read books to your grandchildren by phone.
- Go for a socially distanced walk with a friend.
- Play a game online with someone in another state.
- Call a friend you haven’t talked to in years.
- Write a letter to someone you miss.
Here at The Village, in addition to encouraging these general activities, we’re doing a number of specific things for our residents, including outdoor fitness workshops, concerts on the lawn and socially distant “visitation vistas” where residents enjoy safe outdoor visits with a loved one.
This time of COVID-19 presents unique challenges for staying connected. However, it’s worth the effort to reach out! Everyone at The Village is here for you!