How to Maintain Your Mental Health Throughout Your Later Years: Community Life Leaders Share the Benefits of Connection and Engagement

JANUARY 8, 2021

Mental health is important at every stage of life. It is key to leading a fulfilling lifestyle with purpose, dignity, and joy. Today, we discuss the importance of mental health for older adults with two of Liberty Lutheran’s distinct retirement communities, The Hearth at Drexel, and The Manor at York Town. Offering diverse levels of care, these two communities ensure a positive impact on residents’ overall well-being with extensive community life programs that uplift their emotional, spiritual, and physical health each and every day.

How can I improve my mental health or ensure my loved one is living well?

Throughout Liberty Lutheran’s communities, residents experience the joy and excitement of fulfilling retirements. The following mental health tips are exemplified in all of our communities as we remain committed to uplifting the mental and physical health of residents across all levels of care.

  • Establish a solid support system: According to the CDC, adequate social and emotional support among older adults is associated with reduced risk for mental illness, physical illness, and mortality.
  • Participate in activities that you or your loved one enjoy: The CDC indicates that “life satisfaction” is key to preventing mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Achieve life satisfaction by doing what you love and surrounding yourself with others who care.
  • Live a healthy lifestyle including diet and exercise: Be sure to maintain a healthy diet with lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. Exercise regularly with activity levels that are appropriate for your current physical state. Click here and check out our latest fitness guide on how to prevent injuries when exercising!
  • Stay connected with friends and family. Socialize! According to Drexel University School of Public Health, social connection can have a direct impact on physical health in older adults. One study in particular of 14,000 older adults in Southeastern Pennsylvania reports that older adults with greater social interactions have significantly higher rates of physical mobility. Maintain communication with friends and family and participate in safe social events or activities that you enjoy.

"Community Life has a direct impact on residents’ mental well-being. The recreational programs we provide can reduce stress, anxiety, and be a source of motivation. Community Life is so much more than activities. We provide purpose and meaning for our residents every single day."

Community Life Director of The Hearth at Drexel, Jessica

With extensive community life programming at both The Hearth at Drexel and The Manor at York Town, community life leaders, Jessica and Robyn, understand the importance of mental health for their residents. Jessica, who is Community Life Director at The Hearth, an assisted living and memory care community in the Main Line region of Philadelphia, uplifts the mental well-being of residents on a daily basis.

Providing meaningful opportunities for socialization with engaging activities, exercise classes, and virtual programming, Jessica and the Community Life team at The Hearth continue to go above and beyond to ensure fulfilling lifestyles for their residents, especially amidst COVID 19. “Our residents have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve experienced a lot of change with new guidelines that prioritize their safety and their health,” Jessica explains.

“Community Life has been their constant. It has maintained a sense of normalcy for our residents. We’ve used our creativity to continue the traditional programs that residents love in new and safe ways,” Jessica affirms. Whether residents are participating in socially distant exercise classes, connecting with friends in virtual book club, or singing along with neighbors on Zoom in music therapy class, their opportunities for social engagement and connection have greatly benefitted their overall well-being.

“To have our residents come together in safe group settings and have them connect with each other, and then to see them smiling and laughing with friends, it brings meaningful life to this community,” Jessica affirms. For Jessica and the Community Life team at The Hearth their department is so much more than just activities, it’s about providing connection, safety, and engagement for their residents that ultimately leaves a lasting impact on their lives.

Providing togetherness and connection: Meet Robyn, Community Life Director at The Manor!

The Manor at York Town, an independent living community located in the heart of charming Bucks County, focuses on fulfilling and active retirements for residents. Robyn especially understands the positive impact that togetherness and connection can have on community members.

"We all need social connection. It’s so important for both our mental and physical health to be around others, to laugh, to cry, to be together and to know that someone is there for you. That’s what our residents experience at The Manor."

Director of Community Life at The Manor at York Town, Robyn

Similar to The Hearth, The Manor’s Community Life programs have continued throughout COVID-19 in new and creative ways by providing numerous opportunities for residents to participate in the activities they enjoy, The Manor’s outstanding efforts to maintain engagement and connection continue to please the people of this community.

“I’ve seen Community Life have such a positive impact on our residents, especially amidst this pandemic. Whether we’re playing socially distant games together like Jeopardy, hosting TED talks with discussions, or bringing happy hour to residents’ doors, they talk about how much fun they’re having and how happy they are to be spending time with their friends,” Robyn affirms.

Within this smaller independent living community, Robyn has the ability to connect with residents on an individual basis as she customizes her Community Life programs to their unique interests. “I can engage with each of our residents and have conversations with them about the activities they’d like to see on our calendars. Our programs are personalized so that we can engage residents as much as possible and ensure their fulfilment here,” Robyn explains.

"We’ve made great friends at The Manor. Everyone is very welcoming and all of the residents have close relationships with each other. Whatever activity you want to do here, you can do it."

Joe K., resident of The Manor at York Town