Studies are beginning to show that cancer may no longer be the most concerning risk factor in aging seniors. The new culprit? Loneliness. In fact, loneliness and isolation impact lifespan just as much as smoking and even more so than obesity. The threat of loneliness comes from “a lack of meaningful and sustained contact” with other people. We are hard-wired for social interaction and community. When these social needs go unmet, feelings ofhopelessness often contribute to a negative perspective of the future and have been found to be related to an increase in the likeliness of “breast cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease” (National Academy of Sciences).
After sustaining a foot injury, Triad Senior Living President Blake Fail said, “Being limited, physically, is no fun at all. During my injury I thought a lot about the elderly and how it must feel to be limited and isolated. It made me all the more aware of how important it is to live in community. It’s an honor to be a part of a community like University Village that works hard every day to create a safe, warm, family environment for our residents.” Isolation and loneliness can be brought on by a number of things including physical limitation or loss of companionship. A solution that meets both the physical and emotional needs of a senior is almost always community.
The American Psychological Association agrees that “a socially active life and prioritizing social goals are associated with higher late-life satisfaction and less severe declines toward the end of life.” Living in community provides cognitive stimulation and generally leads to a more physically active lifestyle. Investing time and resources into socially oriented activities boosts well-being by participating in activities that bring joy, provide higher self-esteem and sense of control, and encourage physical and cognitive activity. Living in community offers a lifestyle that can make senior living the best years of your life. It’s never too late to begin pursuing a healthy and meaningful life.