Socialization improves well-being for seniors

Since the pandemic, the feeling of isolation has increased for people of every age, especially for seniors.
Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 6:44 PM CST
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - Since the pandemic, the feeling of isolation has increased for people of every age, especially for seniors.

Hattiesburg resident Sandra Barnes said she knows the feeling all too well. However, that feeling changed when she took a chance to stay at a retirement community, Wesley Manor.

“It really has changed my life,” said Barnes. “When I got here, I was in a very bad state.”

Prior to her move to the community, Barnes’s feeling of isolation increased over the years as her four children grew up and moved away, and then she suffered from a medical condition.

“My health was not the greatest,” Barnes said. “I was getting over a pulmonary embolism. I had surgery, and it just all came down on me at one time.”

Continuing to live at home alone, Barnes’s daughter was the encouragement behind the decision of giving Wesley Manor a try, and it soon turned her life around.

“I got settled in, and I started getting out and getting involved in the activities that were offered to us, which were wonderful because it made me get out and walk,” Barnes said. “I think it helped me, and I made friends that I think will be lifelong friends.”

Sarah Dickinson, director of residence services at Wesley Manor, said socialization for seniors is very important for their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

“We have... lots of residents that come because they need that socialization, they need that relationship with others,” said Dickinson. “Especially some that are in the same situation, you know, loss of loved ones or empty nesters or their children aren’t close by. So, they need someone with the same background.”

Now participating in various activities with her friends such as arts and crafts, making jewelry, bingo and going out to eat with her own “girls club,” Barnes says she’s living a good life.

“I recommend it for anybody; It’s wonderful,” Barnes said.

According to the CDC, social isolation in adults over 50 was associated with about a 50% increased risk of Dementia, a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.

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