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Senior living communities look to fight loneliness over the holidays

Posted at 6:49 PM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 19:49:42-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The holiday season is right around the corner, and while it may bring feelings of cheer, it can also trigger tough emotions, especially for the elderly.

"43 percent of seniors are lonely and that is a huge epidemic that is facing our senior population," said Jennifer Knecht of Immanuel Communities. "When you're home alone, it's easy to get lonely, it's easy to start to retract. Your world starts to retract as you get older."

While loneliness may affect some senior citizens, Knecht said residents at Immanel Communities properties enjoy community-oriented activities all year round.

"It doesn't look like a hospital, it doesn't feel like a hospital, it's a place where you can reinvent and find your next chapter," Knect said.

"It's great, I've made some wonderful friends," said Gloria Leiferman, a resident at the Lofts at Lakeside Village in West Omaha. "Everybody is really nice." Leiferman moved in to her new home this past January. So far she's enjoyed the move.

"I like to be around other people," she said. "It's get lonely when you're living alone."

Leiferman's Lakeside Village community features multiple dining options, pools and workout facilities, giving her the ability to interact with the roughly 300 residents. The goal is to bring residents out of their rooms and in to common spaces.

"I adjusted beautifully," Leiferman said. "I don't have any regrets at all."

While Leiferman is loving her new home, not all elderly residents in Nebraska are connected with a close community. Knect has advice for anyone who has elderly friends or family members.

"Reach out to somebody," Knecht said. "It's a great opportunity to reconnect with someone you love and pick up the phone and call a friend or look for an opportunity to try something new."