Birches Seniors Get Social for Second Week of “Living It!”

With the second week of the “Living It!” campaign underway, the Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills, Ill. is getting super social with Super Bowl parties, Mardi Gras parades and 1950s-themed Sock Hops.

Clarendon Hills, IL, February 12, 2016 --( With the second week of “Living It!” underway, the Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills, Ill. is getting super social with Super Bowl parties, Mardi Gras parades and 1950s-themed Sock Hops. The Birches’ four-week “Living It!” campaign encourages residents to try new activities related to the four elements of successful aging, with each week focused on one of the four elements: intellectual engagement, social interaction, physical activity or spiritual connection.

Research shows that, no matter what your age, social interaction is a key component to a healthy and fulfilling life. A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, for example, found that older women with larger social networks had a lower risk of cognitive impairment or dementia. But staying social as you get older isn’t always easy. Retirement, the death of friends and family members, mobility issues and other life changes can easily lead to social isolation for older adults. As a result, it takes conscious effort, even for those living in communal environments like assisted living communities, to stay social.

“We are always planning activities and events that encourage residents to get out of their apartments and socialize more,” said Birches’ Activities Director Katie Klitchman. “For Social Week, we got especially creative and thought about some new ways everyone can enjoy each other’s company.”

One new tool The Birches is using to develop programming for Social Week and beyond is data from Lifestyle Reviews. Every six months, Birches residents voluntarily complete Lifestyle Reviews in which they answer questions related to their intellectual, physical, social and spiritual health. The reviews completed in 2015 show that Birches residents are already highly social. More than 50 percent of residents that participated reported that they almost never or very rarely felt lonely, and 50 percent reported that they get out of their apartment at least two times a day. Furthermore, 88 percent of residents reported that family, friends and Birches staff supported their individual successful aging efforts.

“We plan to use the data from Lifestyle Reviews to make our programming even more purposeful for 2016,” said Birches’ Executive Director Jackie Foss. “We hope this data-driven programming will help our residents achieve even higher levels of social fulfillment and improved scores in all the areas related to successful aging.”

This year, Social Week coincides with Mardi Gras, one of the most social and high-spirited holidays. The Birches will celebrate Mardi Gras with musical entertainment from the Midway Ramblers, a lively Cajun band whose music captures the true spirit of New Orleans, and a Mardi Gras parade. Other Social Week activities include an old fashioned Sock Hop with musical entertainment provided by singer Kym Frankovelgia, a resident-run happy hour and a ballroom dancing lesson.

The Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills offers professional services to support the physical, social, intellectual and spiritual growth of the older adults who make it their home. The Birches offers purposeful programming and activities designed to promote a healthy aging lifestyle and a strong sense of community. For more information about The Birches, call 630-789-1135 or visit:
The Birches Assisted Living
Jenny Smiechowski