Mainstream wisdom dictates that regular exercise and a healthy diet are key to living a long, healthy life. While those behaviors certainly play a role in healthy aging, more current research indicates that strong personal relationships significantly contribute to longevity and may help prevent memory loss.
In 1938, the Harvard Study of Adult Development commenced, committing to studying the lives of 724 men, year after year. Psychiatrist Dr. Robert Waldinger is the current director of this study that includes 60 of the original participants and more than 2,000 of their children. According to Dr. Waldinger, “The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.” 1
In a TED talk on the subject, Dr. Waldinger presented three main lessons they’ve learned about relationships:
- Socially connected individuals are physically healthier and live longer
- The quality of relationships is more important than the quantity
- Individuals in strong relationships have sharper minds for longer
When individuals have close social connections, they are more resilient to stress. In terms of brain health, our brains continuously detect, decode, and interpret situations during social conversations. “Social situations and the development of relationships require our brains to engage multiple neural networks that support healthy day-to-day function and capability.” 2
Unfortunately, loneliness is a problem for many adults, especially seniors. According to the CDC, “more than one-third of adults aged 45 and older feel lonely, and nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated.” 3
The good news is that it’s never too late to strengthen existing relationships and build new friendships. We build Brightview Senior Living communities to promote engaging social connections between residents. Our team creates a full schedule of events and recurring activities to bring residents with similar interests together. Through joining a knitting club, attending the weekly bingo game, or simply eating together in the dining room, there are endless opportunities to engage with friends and even associates.
Our Bright Minds program is a collection of Brightview community offerings that are designed to improve the overall brain health and cognitive function of our residents. With Bright Minds, we focus on creating and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits – from increased exercise, social interaction, and healthy eating to managing chronic health conditions to keep you active, and your brain healthy.
Brightview Senior Living pairs the social support system that you need with the independence that you want. To learn more about what Brightview Senior Living offers for seniors making the transition from living alone to a senior living community, view The Brightview Experience or Find a Community today to schedule a personal visit.