Arizona’s best retirement communities share a lifestyle choice in common with those who live longest… and it’s probably not what you’re thinking.
It’s social interaction.
Talking to the barista, the mail lady, a checkout clerk at Target, your neighbors and others you come into contact with during the day matters just as much as closer relationships.
Diet, fitness and overall health collectively make an obvious difference in longevity, of course, but a recent study showcased by TED talk presenter Susan Pinker showcases social interaction as the number one predictor of a long life.
Social interaction versus engagement
We have a hypothesis about why social interaction is most important; it’s an outward sign of engagement with life and our surroundings.
The choice to engage indicates a healthy attitude and lifestyle, which has enormous impact on our lives at every turn. It’s not only a predictor of how long someone will live, it’s a distinction between successful aging and preventable decline.
The socially engaged older adult typically doesn’t limit their interactions to a quick hello as they pass someone at the grocery store once a week. They tend to engage continually throughout their day, noticing what’s happening around them and making a point to participate.
They’re also likely to be more physically active, since they’re leaving the home to be around people to engage with, versus sitting home alone in a silent house. This reduces isolation and depression while positively impacting physical and mental health… all good things when it comes to remaining independent longer.
Arizona’s best retirement communities keep resident’s engaged
Because older adults who are socially active tend to remain independent longer, Arizona’s best retirement communities include robust calendars of community activities to encourage residents.
It’s an important part of the lifestyle they provide that’s in direct contrast to assisted living facilities that provide nothing more than a place to park frail retirees.
Meals to outings, the lifestyle of a community influences resident’s health at every level and should be an important consideration in the selection process for those choosing where to live after retirement.
Independent living communities are a great place to begin looking, but more progressive Life Care communities can take it one step further, immersing residents in a lifestyle that completely revolves around wellness. Their focus on keeping residents out of the care facilities rather than in them can make a remarkable difference.
“I have been as productive as I have ever been in any other 10-year period of my life,” says Grandview Terrace resident Dr. Phyllis Swanson, who moved to the Grandview Terrace Life Care Community in Sun City West in 1997.
Whether honing her skills as an artist, leading group discussions or supporting an employee scholarship program, she’s thankful for the supportive environment that’s enabled her to flourish since moving into the community. (Read her story on LiveWell magazine here.)
Social interactions or isolation, flourishing or fading…. These are choices that can be encouraged or weakened by where someone lives.
To learn more about Sun Health’s retirement communities in the West Valley and how they can impact your health and independence, subscribe to our blog or attend a Sun Health Senior Living workshop near you.
To speak to someone immediately, please contact Jackie Lusson, our corporate director of sales, at 623-236-3767.
(Originally published Jan. 30, 2018; last updated Jan. 11, 2019.)