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As the number of elderly patients continues to climb, becoming aware of the special needs of elderly clients grows in importance. Facilitating environments that build social support systems is beneficial to the elderly in overall health, the ability to remain independent, and the opportunity to process negative events through social interaction, allowing a progression through the developmental task of ego integrity versus despair. The elderly are at risk of deficits in social support; therefore, health care providers must realize the importance of social support for the elderly, assess for deficits in support, and provide appropriate options to bolster support systems. This process goes beyond the traditional survival environmental assessment of safety and function and facilitates a thriving environment that is nurturing and increases the potential for health and growth.

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