Senior Slant #2 – A Question of Mortality

image 33 “I don’t want to live someplace where I have to be around old people all the time. It’s just a place to go and die. I’m not that old yet!”

Seniors who are actively against anything they perceive as an “old folks” community may express their concerns in various ways, including comments like this. Often they aren’t really objecting to being surrounded by other seniors… they’re expressing their fear of mortality. If a senior associates their impending move with physical decline, infirmity and a short path to death, they will actively resist. Who wouldn’t?

The truth is, moving to a 55+ community in San Diego is just the opposite of taking a giant step backward – it’s a bold move forward. Many of my clients have enjoyed a “social awakening” when they move to a peer populated environment. They discovered passions they never knew they had and made new friends in the process.

It’s a medical fact that people (of all ages) who have strong social bonds live longer with less illness than those who are more isolated. Scientific American reported on a meta-study (analysis of 100 years worth of research involving 148 studies and over 300,000 participants) on the importance of strong social connections called “Live Longer By Staying Connected”.  The benefits include:
• Boosts longevity by 50 percent (comparable to giving up a 15-cigarette-a day habit).
• More crucial to physical health than exercising or eliminating obesity.
• Reduced stress, lowering blood pressure and boosting immune systems. Pretty impressive!

And there are so many different of senior communities available in San Diego. I admit that some are sleepy without social activities, but many are the exact opposite, nothing at all like “old folks homes.”

I might explain it like this: “Joan, I completely understand your apprehension, but times have changed. There are more seniors today than there have ever been and many of them, like you, demand a more active lifestyle and won’t settle for outdated models for senior living. There are SO MANY opportunities and alternatives in today’s senior housing market. Would you like to discuss your interests and personal priorities and investigate some of your best options?”

Having a social community of peers is particularly important for those seniors who are isolated in their own homes. At risk are those seniors who have lost (or have lost contact with) close family members and friends over the years, leaving them lonely much of the time. Why live like that when there are so many better ways to go?