The importance of friends among seniors is essential. It has been found that social isolation among seniors is one of the prevalent causes of illness as well as mental and emotional issues. In fact, the NIA has stated that social isolation increases the risk of physical illness. Using senior community classes Southern California changes and transforms the issues with friends and community that is needed among seniors.
Case Study Summary
Jeannette is one of the seniors in the community who regularly participates in Painting with Mom, our art class for seniors.
Her best friend, Monique, lived with her in a gated community. She eventually needed to receive extra care and moved back with her family in a different state. To keep the friendship alive, they would text every Saturday morning.
Everyone noticed that Jeannette changed during one of the Painting with Mom classes. Instead of being her upbeat, joyful self, she was worried and anxious. Monique had not sent a text.
By the middle of class, Jeannette broke down. She realised that Monique had passed away the night before and she would never receive another text.
The Painting with Mom participants interrupted the class. They helped her through the meltdown she experienced and spent the afternoon with Jeannette, making sure that she received the attention and care she needed as she processed the passing away of her closest friend.
The power of community for seniors’ is essential. Understanding the unique position that seniors are in also allows those surrounding them to support incidents such as this while developing a support system for their care.
Research states that without the sense of community, the physical health of seniors decreases rapidly, sometimes equating to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. By providing emotional and mental support with surrounding friends, it allows seniors to maintain a state of wellness.
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Background of Jeannette
Jeanette lived in a gated community for seniors along with her friend Monique. They had been friends for years, keeping in close contact over age and staying as a support system to each other, specifically because of the changes they were both experiencing at that time.
While they remained close friends, Monique fell ill and was unable to stay in the same community. To receive better care and to be closer to family, she moved out of the State. This way, she could be close to her family and children while receiving a different form of support.
Even though she moved away, Jeanette and Monique stayed close, texting each other every Saturday to make sure they were ok.
How We Met Jeannette
Jeannette attended our Painting with Mom classes, a special art class for seniors provided for the Southern California community. She attended every other Saturday, using the classes as a way to stay active and in the community.
BlueSea Care provides Painting with Mom art classes as a way to support senior wellness. The connection to community and family allows individuals to come together. This targets the issues with social isolation and begins to assist the seniors in Seal Beach and beyond.
The Painting with Mom art classes are also designed with the therapeutic benefits of the arts. Research from various sources have found that the arts have an impact on motor skills, cognitive perception and enhances mood. Each of our senior community classes Southern California always highlights this as a part of the courses.
The Power of Social Connection
Everyone knew Jeannette for her character – she was always upbeat, happy and friendly. She would reach out to others and would engage with those in the class.
This Saturday (the same day and time she received text from Monique), something changed. Jeannette was stressed and anxious about something. She was constantly checking her phone and instead of staying open, she began to shut down.
She was waiting for the weekly text from Monique, the only individual who ever texted her, hoping to hear that she was staying well with her family.
But there wasn’t a text. And part way through the class, Jeannette realized there wouldn’t be a text again. She broke down, realising that her friend Monique had passed away the night before.
Community Support In Times of Need
We often wonder what would have happened if Jeannette did not connect with us when her friend passed away? The anxiety and stress she demonstrated during class would have taken place while she was alone. And when she broke into a complete melt down and state of trauma – no one would have been there.
These are common experiences for seniors, while isolation often takes precedent while they go through similar experiences.
Because she was in the Painting with Mom class, we were able to respond to her call for help. Everyone in the group understood the grief that Jeannette was experiencing in the moment.
The community came together. They were able to support Jeannette as she went through the understanding of loss with her best friend. The participants interrupted the class and dedicated the afternoon to spending time with her. They took her out for lunch and did not leave until there was a certainty that she coped with the loss.
The communities ability to come together and assist Jeannette through this process transformed everyone in the group. Everyone came closer together and Jeannette was able to work through the loss and grief while recognising her friend’s loss.
The Danger of Social Isolation Among Elders
According to the Aging Life Care Association there is a direct impact on health and morality among those who experience social isolation. Cardiovascular, inflammatory, hormonal and emotional factors all highlight significant differences when seniors remain isolated and do not connect to the community.
It is also found that chronic health conditions begin to subside, built from the state of isolation in seniors and physiological mechanisms which are associated with aging care. The research showcases that connecting to the community is one of the most important factions seniors can maintain to remain in a state of wellness.
The case study of Jeannette is a significant story relating to the power of social connection and community, as well as the potential consequences of senior isolation.
From one perspective, the community was able to support the grieving process with Jeanette, allowing her to let go of her friend and the death which she experienced from the loss. This connection to community shows the powerful format to assist with the emotional and cognitive responses associated with loss as well as many of the tribulations seniors face.
At the same time, there is a question of the response which Jeannette would have experienced without senior isolation, serving as an example of the strain of remaining separate from the community.
During her time in class, Jeannette experienced anxiety, stress and a meltdown from her loss. Her cognitive, emotional and physical capacity went to lower levels than normal. If she were in isolation during this time, it may have led to deeper issues with her health as well as her emotional and mental state.
This is the issue which many seniors experience. Losing loved ones, the inability to connect to others and not having the capacity to process emotionally with others leads to the severe consequences of seniors.
Helping Seniors In Your Surroundings
The commitment we have at BlueSea Care is to make sure that seniors don’t experience social isolation. Our regular senior community classes Southern California as well as our decision to give back to the community is our way of making sure everyone has the opportunity to remain connected.
Painting with Mom is continuing to expand throughout Southern California, offering free art classes to everyone in the community. This outreach is specifically to reduce the amount of senior isolation while using the arts as a form of therapy for those involved.
There are many objectives we have with Painting with Mom as a part of our senior community classes Southern California, all which are seen as being reached through our many case studies.
- Community Connections. Inviting seniors to events within the community is a way to reduce senior isolation while bringing individuals together. This allows everyone to reduce isolation and create the connections they desire.
- Family Togetherness. As parents age, it is easy to become separate from family members. The stress of caregiving from the sandwich generation makes moments of being together and creating memories difficult. We use Painting with Mom as a way of changing this dynamic while allowing families to enjoy simply being together.
- Therapeutic Benefits. Many researchers show that there are several benefits to using the arts with those that require memory care and assistance with cognitive support. By using painting, we provide extra support to those who require assistance with their wellness.
For those living in different locations, or that can not attend, it is important to remain connected to seniors within the community. There are many approaches which can be used to assist seniors to remain connected and to reduce the sense of isolation they often experience.
Everyone who knows a senior in their community can begin today. Sign up to download our senior coloring book and enjoy time with a senior in your community.
The coloring book is designed specifically for senior wellness. It is a way to support cognitive wellness among seniors and works with memory care for those who are suffering from issues such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
According to the Journal of Applied Gerontology, the use of the arts enhances quality of life and has a direct impact on well – being and mood. It is recommended that every adult over the age of 50 practice a form of visual arts, specifically to continue cognitive health. The journal states it serves as a successful format for intervention that adults require for overall well-being.
Taking the time to connect to seniors in your community, in any way, is one which will directly impact them. By staying connected, you reduce the emotional and cognitive issues which many face. It is also possible that you will directly begin to impact their well-being and sense of belonging.
At BlueSea Care, we believe in the power of community, family and individual connectivity for complete well-being. Our mission with Art to Wellness® is to focus on the many important dimensions and layers that are associated with seniors’ lives, using our many programs to support seniors in the community.
Our programs are complimentary to the senior care services provided, specifically by offering comprehensive and total managed care. From daily, remedial tasks to extra care programs, we believe that total care requires emotional, physical and mental support. As we continue to focus on this mission, those in the surrounding community and those who attend our classes are able to receive the same type of care as Jeannette. One where she was supported through a time of grief while having community connections that assisted her during a difficult moment in her life.