Ruth Moses loved living at United Church Homes’ Four Winds Community in Jackson, Ohio, where she saw her brother about once a week. But after he died in 2009, visits from family and friends were few and far between. Later, when a good friend who often took her to church became sick, Ruth realized that her closest family was now three hours away.
Mary Barker, 74, Ruth’s only remaining sibling, lives in their hometown of Upper Sandusky. “I think it was pretty difficult when she didn’t have anyone coming to see her. About all she did was read and watch television,” Mary said.
To be closer to her family and others, Ruth decided to move to Fairhaven Community, the first UCH community located in Upper Sandusky that is just three blocks from her sister’s home. “It was hard (to be away from Mary),” Ruth, 86, said.
Becky Blocksom, community engagement coordinator at Fairhaven, said being close to family and friends makes a difference for Ruth and other older adults. “I think it creates a feeling of security, a feeling of love.”
LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan said remaining connected to people and engaged in social activities is critical to the overall health of older adults.
A lack of social involvement could cause seniors to suffer from health problems such as memory loss, high blood pressure, and depression, Katie added. “There’s no question that interacting with people has enormous benefits for people. That human connection, that human touch leads to much better health: physical and mental,” Katie said.
Mary noted that when Ruth lived at Four Winds, she and her husband, Ralph, would try to travel to Jackson to see her sister once a month. These visits became less frequent as Mary dealt with her own health issues. But now Mary says she tries to see her sister at least once a week. “Now we can go get her and bring her to our house,” where she also sees extended family members, Mary said. Ruth was able to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with the family and went to the big light show at the city park in Upper Sandusky. “I’m happier now,” Ruth said.
Ruth has returned home. Home to Upper Sandusky where she grew up and where she can enjoy the support of family. And home again with United Church Homes from one community to another.