The explosion in our aging population has brought a lot of attention not only to how we age, but also how we choose to live as we get older. Our choice of how to live can dramatically affect us.
To be with other people, to share our life in all its aspects, especially as we age, is key to health, both physically and spiritually. In fact, research shows that one of our greatest fears as we grow older is that we will be alone. Relationships are vital to our well-being and nurturing those relationships is also key to health and fulfillment. Research has also shown that being a member of a church group benefits longevity because it increases our contact and engagement with others.
Dr. Andrew Newberg, the Director for Integrative Medicine at a leading University in the U.S. published an article which reviewed academic research on the power of relationships and longevity. He looked at several studies and noted that “having a strong belief system in religion may conger benefits for many individuals. Religious service attendance is predictive of higher life satisfaction among seniors…there appears to be an array of health benefits from religious and spiritual practices and experiences that benefit both physical and mental health” (“Spirituality and the Aging Brain”. Andrew B Newberg. Generations; Vol. 35 No.2 Spring 2011. P87, 88)
The message from all these studies? Put yourself in situations of social contact and engagement. Enjoy the mental, emotional and physical stimulation of others. Do all you can to maintain and strengthen the relationships you already have and build new ones. That’s the value of community. And that’s what we strive to do every day at Davenhill Senior Living.