Building Community: The Benefits of Knowing Your NeighborsOctober 6, 2022
While some people are more socially inclined, others need a little nudge to get to know their neighbors. Here are some reasons why being on good terms should be a priority – especially in your senior years.
Neighborly bonds keep you healthier
Seniors who are more socially active tend to be healthier. Bryan James, an epidemiologist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, conducted a 12-year study that followed approximately 1100 seniors and found that “the rate of cognitive decline was 70 percent less in people with frequent social contact than those with low social activity.”
Cognitive function stays high when you are in contact with others. Consider this: people aren’t meant to be disconnected from one another. Humans are social creatures, yet many seniors lose social connections because of natural life changes.
Another common issue among older adults that makes it harder to develop social connections is that they live in communities surrounded by younger individuals who can’t relate to their older neighbors. Moving into a senior community is a great first step to reconnecting with people who are around the same age as you.
Highly engaged communities with strong social connections are also safer, since people are more likely to notice suspicious activities and check up on eachother.
How to get to know your neighbors
You don’t have to wait for your neighbors to come to you. If you live in a senior community and want to get to know your neighbors better, here are some ideas to get started:
- Create a community garden – A community garden is a wonderful way to beautify an empty space and bring people together for a common purpose.
- Host a block party – Remember block parties from years ago? Hosting a block party with neighbors in a senior community encourages camaraderie and might even be more fun than when your kids were little because there’s no one you need to watch.
- Form a walking club – Pick a time and location for others in the neighborhood to meet up and enjoy good conversation while getting a much-needed cardiovascular workout. Many older adults enjoy taking an evening stroll with their neighbors. Walking keeps you active, but when you do it after dinner, it helps with digestion and can lead to better sleep, too.
- Host a game night – Pull out those dusty board games from decades ago or grab a deck of cards and enjoy a night of games and fun conversation.
- Start a birthday club – Have monthly birthday celebrations. It’s the perfect pretext for a get-together while you pay homage to your friend and neighbour on their special day.
- Organize a carpool – A carpool is a great way to get to know your neighbors while running errands together.
- Put together monthly theme nights – Many senior communities have clubhouses that residents can use for get-togethers like theme nights. You could put together a book club, a 70s disco night or rent a projector and watch the newest blockbuster on your favorite streaming service.
As a Life Plan Community, The Atrium at Navesink Harbor makes it easy to live life on your terms, with a lifestyle that includes a maintenance-free residence, dining, wellness programs, recreational, social and cultural activities, and more.