Just a Friend: How Social Relationships Affect Resident Health in Assisted-Living Facilities
December 15, 2017 | Aging Services Risk Management
Assisted-living facilities have long been considered a "home-like" option for older adults who require such care and provide opportunities for social interaction and companionship, but how do social ties affect resident health? Annals of Long-Term Care: Clinical Care and Aging recently published an interview with Dr. Molly Perkins, an expert on the association between social relationships and health in assisted living, who discussed how her findings could be applied to improve the quality of life of LTC residents. Perkins's research included interviews with 192 assisted-living residents from nine facilities in Georgia, including "mapping" of their social networks (i.e., family members, facility staff, other residents, friends outside the facility). Eighty-four percent of participants reported that their closest ties were with family members; 22% stated that they desired additional network members; and 29% included other residents in their network maps, although they considered the majority of their co-residents to be acquaintances or "friends just to say hello."