Connection and Community – Finding your Tribe in Retirement
Social Capital – are you investing well?
This can be called social capital, which is the networks of relationships that give humans purpose through emotional connection and participation. This network has massive health benefits for people of every age including living longer, retaining stronger immune systems, and reducing risk of dementia.
Yvonne Michael, an epidemiologist from the Drexel University School of Public Health, studies the effects of social capital on seniors. In one study, Michael analysed data from a large health survey of nearly 14,000 adults in Southeastern Pennsylvania. After measuring the levels of mobility among the seniors living in those neighbourhoods, Michael found that those living in areas with greater social capital had significantly higher physical mobility scores than those living in lower social capital neighbourhoods.
Higher levels of social interaction—even peripheral interactions—can have a high payoff for elderly folks, says Bryan James, an epidemiologist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago. James studied the impact of greater social activity levels in individuals and its impact on health.
In one study, James looked at how social activity affected cognitive decline. More than 1,100 seniors without dementia at baseline were measured on their social activity levels and then tested periodically on their cognitive functioning over a 12-year period. The rate of cognitive decline was 70 percent less in people with frequent social contact than those with low social activity. (SOURCE: Greater Good Magazine – Science Based Insights for Meaningful Life)
Finding your tribe
Therefore, when you’re making the move to a over 50s lifestyle community you want to make sure it’s to a group of like-minded people. This tribe makes it easier to make friends and connect meaningfully with people who share similar interests. Look closely at the clubs, courses and entertainment on offer at the lifestyle community you are researching. What’s on your checklist — game nights? Fitness activities? Social field trips? Do the events on offer appeal to you?
Remember, you are the designer of your destiny, so you choose how involved you want to be in the social activities of your community. Concurrently, your privacy is essential when you close your door at home.
The perfect recipe is finding a community that is warm, welcoming and provides plenty of opportunities to enrich your life with social connections plus the respect of privacy in your own home haven.