Retiring Well: The Power of Friendship, Community, and Purpose in Retirement
As we approach retirement, we often think about our ideal living situation. We envision staying active, engaging in our favourite hobbies, and spending quality time with loved ones. But there’s another crucial element to consider when choosing a retirement community: the hidden power of friendship, community, and purpose.
In this article, we’ll explore the importance of these elements and share stories of people who’ve found happiness and support in retirement communities.
The Blue Zone study
The Blue Zone Study, an international research project, identified areas around the world where people consistently live vibrant, healthy lives past the age of 100. While diet was a key focal point of the research, another factor common to all these “Blue Zones” was the presence of friendship, community, and purpose.
One remarkable example is the concept of Moais in Okinawa, Japan. A Moai is a lifelong circle of friends who support each other through all of life’s ups and downs. People living in this community enjoy low rates of cancer, heart disease, and dementia, and the women have the longest life expectancy on the planet.
The benefits of a social community
Living in a socially active retirement community can have immense benefits for residents. Studies have found that social activity can improve cognitive function, reduce the risk of developing dementia, and even boost overall health and well-being. Research has shown that less social activity correlates with a decline in motor function, and social engagement can lessen the chances of developing a disability in activities of daily living.
Rick and Ann, residents of one of the Teman communities, said that one of their primary reasons for choosing a retirement community was the social environment it provides, and the fact that their family can come and enjoy the facilities with them.
“They visit all the time,” Rick says, noting that Henry, their eight-year-old grandson, “loves Grandma and Grandad’s village.”
Coping with loss
Losing a partner is one of the most difficult experiences we can go through. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the process, but living in a supportive community can make a difficult time more manageable.
Jacquie, another Teman resident, found solace in her community after losing her husband. She credits the support from staff, management, and fellow residents for helping her through such a challenging time.
“Without the support and the care of staff, management and the residents, it would have been exceedingly difficult. I’m just so pleased I’m here and not outside. My year would’ve been horrendous without it.”
Jacquie also found comfort in her beloved dog, Jemma, emphasising the importance of pets in providing companionship and support.
Staying social and active
A healthy social life can have a significant impact on our quality of life – especially as we age. Here are some activities that provide a social environment for staying involved, healthy, and happy:
Participate in fitness classes, combining physical activity with social engagement. The Heart Foundation’s Walking Program is an excellent example and an easy way to find groups to exercise with.
Enjoy outings, such as trips to the movies, shopping centres, attractions, or national parks.
Maintain connections with family, either in person or through phone calls and video chats.
Finding the right lifestyle village
When searching for the ideal retirement community, it’s essential to consider not only the amenities and services but also the opportunities for social engagement and support. My Aged Care is an Australian government resource that can help you find suitable services and information in your area.
Remember to consider the following factors when choosing a retirement community:
Opportunities for social engagement, including clubs, groups, and activities.
A supportive environment that fosters friendships and a sense of belonging.
A community that values and promotes purpose, empowering residents to continue pursuing their passions and interests.
Access to resources and services that cater to the unique needs of aging adults.
In conclusion, the power of friendship, community, and purpose cannot be underestimated when choosing a retirement community. By placing a priority on these often-missed aspects, you can ensure you select a lifestyle village with an environment that promotes health and well-being, allowing you to thrive in your golden years.
Life’s good, and it’s even better here
Did you know we have Teman retirement villages across Australia? We are located in Cooranbong, Gillieston Heights, Cessnock, and Orange in New South Wales. Brisbane, Rockhampton, and Gladstone in Queensland. Perth and Ravenswood near Mandurah in Western Australia. If you’d like to know more about living in a Teman community, the benefits of a lifestyle village, or to preview our fantastic facilities, simply complete the form below and we’ll email you an information pack.