Senior living personnel who recognize the importance of friendships among residents benefit in two ways, according to a paper that won an award at the recent National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care national conference. First, social connectedness benefits resident quality of life, and second, it increases the likelihood that residents will recommend the community to others.

That’s the take-away message from the study named Outstanding Research Paper at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care National Conference in National Harbor, MD. The annual competition, which calls for applied research papers, was sponsored by Prudential Real Estate Investors. The winning paper, Relationships Matter: The Importance of Friendships Among Residents of Independent Living Communities, is featured in the 2015 Seniors Housing & Care Journal

Authors Kristen Paris, Edie Smith, Rachelle Bernstecker and David Schless found that formal activities offered by independent living communities do not seem to affect residents’ sense of social connectedness. Instead, informal activities, such as entertaining in private residences or eating meals in a communal dining room, are more impactful drivers of feeling connected. 

The winning article and other articles appearing in the issue may be downloaded at no charge at the NIC website, thanks to the assistance of the Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging.