While many would guess the key to happiness in life is wealth, research suggests that our bank accounts have nothing to with the smiles on our faces. Strong, satisfying relationships among our spouse, family and friends are the real key to happiness. As it turns out, assisted living can play a factor and improve happiness for many seniors.
In 1938, a study at Harvard University began tracking 724 males. All of the males were from the Boston area, but came from different backgrounds. Some were college students, while others lived in the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Since the study began, the men have been interviewed every two years and also participate in a physical exam and blood work.
The research has provided many clues about the foundation of a happy, healthy life rather than one dominated by health problems and battles with depression. Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor and the study’s current director, Robert Waldinger, credits strong relationships to preserving physical and mental health throughout life’s stages. Healthier adults were generally happier than those plagued by health problems and experienced fewer feelings of isolation.
It isn’t easy to make friends at any age, but the task becomes significantly more difficult as we age. Throughout our teens and early adult years we are surrounded by people. With school and careers in our forefront it is easier to develop relationships. As we age and retire, social circles dwindle and we begin to loose contact with friends and loved ones. The study suggested that individuals that made efforts to maintain relationships and continued to develop friendships experienced higher levels of happiness during senior years.
Research has also indicated that people who are connected with friends, family and the community experienced longer, happier lives. Living in isolation leads to a shorter, less happy life. People that were unhappy in relationships at age 50 reported that emotional pain had magnified their physical pain by age 80.
Assisted living can play a vital role in happiness during senior years. The move can eliminate feelings of solitude and isolation. At Rosewood, we strive to balance privacy and freedom with a structured environment that fosters social interaction. The community atmosphere is a contributor in life extending happiness.
Our Activity Directors plan daily events, along with weekly exercise classes, outings and performances. Seniors gather together to enjoy entertainment and participate in activities, rather than being alone at home. Our calendar provides an array of activities for every interest.
After a new resident joins our community, we meet with them to better identify their interests and preferences. We use the information to better determine what other residents they have things in common with. This helps to instill a sense of belonging and begins to foster relationships.
The move to an assisted living community can be scary for many seniors, but many feel at home after a few weeks. The social interaction strengthens relationships and plays a vital role in both physical and mental health.
For more information on assisted living and the impact it can have on happiness, please contact 706-866-4443.