What Are The Secrets To Aging Well?

Dec 5, 2023 | Health & Wellness

Movement. Diet. Purpose. Community. These are the not-so-mysterious “secrets” to aging well. Let’s explore what longer-living folks around the world have in common and how the right senior living community can help you age well and live your retirement years to the fullest.

Longer-Living Populations Have Four Things in Common

In 2000, journalist and National Geographic fellow Dan Buettner set out to investigate why some communities had people who lived longer and enjoyed a higher quality of life than others. He and his team traveled to five locations they nicknamed “Blue Zones.” The term comes from a study in the Journal of Experimental Gerontology where researchers identified longevity hotspots in Italy by drawing blue circles around specific villages.

Dan Buettner found that older people living in Blue Zones have four things in common.

1. Natural Movement

The healthy seniors Dan Buettner encountered did not set aside time to “exercise,” but instead had natural movement built into their daily lives. They garden, knead bread, use hand-held tools, and walk when they go on errands or visit neighbors. Older residents of Okinawa, Japan, take meals and relax sitting on tatami mats on the floor. Getting up and down off the floor a few dozen times a day builds lower body strength and balance, which lowers the chance of having a dangerous fall.

2. Healthy Diet

A balanced diet not only gives you energy for the day but provides nutrients your body needs to repair itself and stay stronger for longer. Seniors in Blue Zones don’t stick to one specific diet but instead eat plenty of whole foods, fruits, vegetables, greens, and whole grains.

3. Purpose

Dan Buettner also noted that the older folks he talked to had a strong sense of purpose. Older Okinawans can articulate the reason they get up in the morning and have responsibilities within the community. In Nicoya, Costa Rica, seniors have a plan de vida, or reason to live, which fosters a positive outlook on life and keeps them active.

4. Community

Seniors in Blue Zones share a strong connection to the people around them. They visit neighbors, stay connected with family, and have active roles in their community. Elders in Okinawa often form moai, or social support groups. These life-long friends support each other socially, financially, and spiritually.

Aging Well Is Easier With The Right Senior Living Community

Living a longer and happier life isn’t as simple as staying active and eating well. Dan Buettner noticed something else after talking with Blue Zone seniors. Their health and longevity originated from their surroundings.

The right senior living community can help you age well by offering a supportive community where you can pursue your hobbies, prioritize family, and build community.

Enjoy Life

Some of the biggest benefits of a senior living community are the activities and onsite amenities. You have the freedom to be as active as you want. Book clubs, hymn sings, concerts, movie nights, or an evening with friends down at the cafe are all a short walk from your front door.

Prioritize Family

The right senior living community also gives you more time for family. They won’t have to worry about you as you age or stop in to help you do laundry or cook meals. This is taken care of in a Life Plan community like Sunset, where more help is always available if your needs change. Howard and Betty, a couple who moved into Independent Living, said a big reason they moved to Waterford Place was so their kids didn’t have to worry about them anymore.

Build Community

Staying connected to a community can be difficult as we age. Long-time friends and neighbors move or pass away and it’s harder to get out to see family or run errands. Making new friends, volunteering, and trying new hobbies is easy because you’re surrounded by people who share the same interests and are at a similar stage of life.

young brunette woman dancing with elderly man at sock hop

Find Your Community at Sunset

The most common thing we hear from new residents is “I wish we would have moved in sooner!” Sunset is a Life Plan Community, which means we help residents age in place by offering multiple levels of care in the same organization. When people move into Independent Living early on in their retirement they have plenty of time to get settled into a new way of life and curate an environment that will help them enjoy their senior years and live them well!

Have questions about our communities or services? We’d love to answer your questions and show you around. Call us at 616.457.2770 or send us a message online.