For those of us “in the industry,” retirement community living makes a great deal of sense. We know that loneliness is a major factor in the mental and physical decline in the senior population. We also know that the residents who live in our communities are glad they’re here . . . and that they often say, “I wish I’d come sooner.” Learn more about how The Wesley Communities are not like your grandmother’s retirement community by clicking the link above.
At any stage of life, taking time to relax and find peace of mind is important. We all have daily stresses to deal with, and learning how best to deal with them is critical in order to mitigate the negative effects that come with those daily stressors. In today’s world, dedicating time to reflect and relax has become more prevalent. However, sometimes it’s “easier said than done” to find ways to truly bring a sense of calm into one’s day. Click above to learn more about the benefits of meditation for older adults.
We all know that a low salt, low fat diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and fiber can reduce the risk of age related health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, osteoporosis, and other chronic diseases. However, there are lots of other foods out there. Can you eat those other foods and still experience healthy aging? Yes! Click above to learn more about healthy aging through food.
What age group of adults would you think is the happiest? If most people were to guess, they’d likely assume people in their 20s and 30s are the most content. Why wouldn’t they be, right? They are young and likely healthy, and they have their whole lives ahead of them, full of potential and exciting events.
If you think young adults have it all, you may be surprised to learn the results of a study conducted out of the University of California-San Diego; the research results were published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
Happiness comes with maturity…
The study’s author, Dr. Dilip Jeste, is a geriatric psychiatrist and the director of the university’s Center on Healthy Aging. He and his team of researchers used a random sampling of 1,546 adults in the San Diego area, age 21 to 99.
The subjects in the study underwent a phone interview with a member of the research team and then completed a lengthy survey assessing their physical, cognitive, and mental health. They were asked about their overall happiness and satisfaction with their life. In addition, they were questioned on their stress levels and any depression or anxiety they were experiencing.
It is often assumed that happiness would form a sort of U-shaped curve over the course of life—high in early adulthood, dropping in middle age, and then ticking back up in late life. But this isn’t what the study found.
The researchers discovered that despite potential health issues and physical decline that are often inherent to the aging process, the older research subjects were actually happier overall than the younger adults. Surprisingly, it was those in their 20s and 30s who were found to have the lowest levels of happiness, life satisfaction, and wellbeing, in addition to the highest levels of depression, anxiety, and stress.
Although the study did not follow the research subjects over time to determine if their responses were just a reflection of that moment in time or a more long-term trend with their mental and physical state, it does suggest that overall, people appear to have improved mental health and overall happiness as they mature and age.
Think about it: In your 20s and 30s, you’ve been released into the “real world,” which can be a difficult transition that includes educational and career pressures, romantic turbulence, trying to keep up with the Joneses, and other “adult stuff” like bills and taxes. It becomes clear why it can indeed be a stressful, anxiety-filled time.
Contrast that to older people. With the wisdom gained over the years, they appear to have more emotional stability, self-awareness, and contentment with their stage in life. They have learned to let more things roll off their backs, which results in greater happiness.
…But not for all seniors
While this study from the University of California-San Diego is certainly good news when it comes to the overall emotional state of our nation’s older citizens, it is not suggested that we should assumethat all seniors are in their happiest phase of life.
There is a “loneliness epidemic” among the elderly, particularly those who live alone, with roughly 40 percent of those seniors saying they often feel isolated—a risk factor that can have a more detrimental impact on health than things like smoking or obesity.
CCRCs can help facilitate happiness
Living alone, in and of itself, does not necessarily translate into loneliness, although it is a contributing factor for many. Likewise, surrounding one’s self with lots of people doesn’t always translate into avoidance of loneliness. Ultimately, it is about quality of relationships and other factors. Yet, this opportunity to socialize more frequently, develop new friendships, and stay active are among the many benefits of living in a retirement community, such as a continuing care retirement community (CCRC, also called a life plan community).
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The above article was written by Brad Breeding ofmyLifeSite and is legally licensed for use.