Advice Assisted Living

Prioritizing Mental Health for Seniors Through Connection

In a world bustling with activity, it’s easy to overlook the quieter struggles faced by seniors. At Benchmark Senior Living, we recognize the profound impact that mental health has on our residents’ overall well-being – as well as those who don’t live in our communities. For this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month and beyond, we want to emphasize the stronghold of our residents’ well-being: Connection. In a 2023 Letter from the Surgeon General, it’s stated that “those who are more socially connected live longer, while those who experience social deficits, including isolation, loneliness, and poor-quality relationships, are more likely to die earlier, regardless of the cause of death.” 

Benchmark prefers to face this medically-based fact of life head-on, and we do so through our continuous care and purpose of keeping our residents connected to who and what matters most. We are committed to raising awareness and providing the support needed to combat the challenges of loneliness and isolation often faced by older adults. 75% of seniors over the age of 75 live at home – Life lived in solitude can be deeply challenging, and at Benchmark, we believe that our community-based lifestyle can rectify that. 

Mental health awareness are not just buzzwords; this awareness is a pressing need that affects more people than we realize. Seniors, in particular, can easily slip into isolation, masking their struggles behind closed doors. Benchmark’s mission is to shine a light on this issue and offer solutions that promote connection, purpose, and vitality. Living in communities like Benchmark’s can significantly improve mental health outcomes for seniors. Studies show that those in such settings report higher levels of social support and lower levels of loneliness. According to the Surgeon General’s letter, isolation can exacerbate the risk of dementia, depression and anxiety. This also leads to higher risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke; longer stays and admission rates to hospitals, limited access to physical activity, and higher risks of obesity. Additionally, access to supportive services like well-balanced meals, medication management, coordinated transportation to medical appointments, and social activities enhances mental and physical well being.

Combating loneliness doesn’t always require grand gestures. Sometimes, it’s the simple exercises and activities that make all the difference. That’s why at Benchmark, we prioritize our residents’ mental health through various initiatives:

  • Mindfulness Activities: Residents can participate in classes like meditation, tai chi, and yoga, fostering physical and mental wellness.
  • Social Opportunities: Offering opportunities for residents to be amongst peers and associates throughout the day helps combat loneliness and isolation by encouraging conversations and socialization.
  • Enriching Programming: A full calendar of events, clubs, and gatherings that provide ample opportunities to socialize is available – developing a new hobby or attending an educational lecture stimulates both the mind and the soul. 
  • Off-Site Excursions: Residents have the opportunity to explore new environments and visit old favorites with trips to parks, museums, and other local attractions.
  • Specialized Support Groups: Our communities offer support groups for various health challenges, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, to provide companionship and understanding for both residents and their loved ones.
  • Grief Support and Memorial Services: Emotional support and memorial services help residents and their loved ones navigate loss and find closure within the community*.

As we age, prioritizing mental health becomes increasingly vital. Just as we attend to our physical health with regular check-ups, so too should we invest in our mental well-being. Recognizing that mental health is not just a concern for our residents but also for our associates, we’ve implemented the Spring Health platform. This wellness benefit is available to all Benchmark associates and their families, offering personalized care and support. From mental health check-ins to confidential therapy sessions, we prioritize the well-being of our team members. Through partnerships like with Spring Health, we offer comprehensive wellness benefits, including therapy, medication management, and self-guided wellness exercises.

At Benchmark, we believe that every individual deserves to age with dignity, purpose, and joy. By fostering a culture of mental wellness and inclusivity, we strive to make a positive difference in the lives of our residents and associates alike. Together, let’s nurture vibrant communities where everyone can thrive, regardless of age. 

*Please reach out to the Executive Director at your community as offerings may vary.

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