During my time as the summer intern for H.O.M.E. I've had the opportunity to join Good Life senior residents from the Intergenerational Houses on some of their outings. During these outings I've been able to see how important community is for seniors and how much they love to engage with those around them.
According to the United States of Aging Survey 53 percent of seniors "nationally indicated that being close to friends and family is important and only 15 percent report occasional feeling of isolation." Therefore, it's important that seniors are engaged in community.
A few events I attended were mini golfing, beach days, visiting the Chicago Botanic Garden, attending Bingo at NSH, joining shopping trips, and attending a community night hosted by PCH.
At each of these events I noticed the connection that the residents have with one another. They aren't just people who happen to live in the same building; they act like a family. They laugh while playfully teasing one another. The seniors also have a strong connection with the staff at NSH and PCH.As my internship with H.O.M.E. is coming to an end, I've been reflecting on my favorite moments with the seniors. One theme that sticks out to me and that repeats itself is the community I saw blossom among the seniors through their time together.
It's evident these seniors find comfort in one another and enjoy one another's company. It's wonderful that they have this community with each other as according to experts, staying active and social can enhance one's life as one gets older and help stave off conditions such as dementia and depression.
One resident of PCH, Jean, can testify to this as she's said:
"I was married and then my husband walked out on me. When I came here I was crying a lot but it seemed like later on I was getting a little bit used to the place and the people. Seems like it's doing me good now that I'm with other people."
Jean playing mini golf. Photo by Emily Frank
At H.O.M.E. we love to hear turn-around stories like Jean's. We strive to help seniors improve their overall quality of life. We believe it's important as the United States of Aging Survey indicates "37 percent of isolated seniors believe their overall quality of life will get worse in the next five to 10 years (compared with 24 percent of all seniors), and 32 percent of isolated seniors believe that their health will get worse, compared with 23 percent of all seniors."
We reach out to those seniors who may feel isolated and welcome them to our community. Our Intergenerational Housing allows seniors to live with not only one another but also with those younger than them. Through Intergenerational Housing, the residents can be there for one another and enjoy life together like a family.
Find out more about how H.O.M.E. builds community through Intergenerational Housing by clicking the link below.