Retirement Communities

11/8/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

In 2010, National Geographic explorer and longevity expert Dan Buettner compiled his research on specific areas of the globe where residents surpass the “normal” mortality rates and live remarkably full lives. His book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, became an instant bestseller. People looking at residential options for older adults can consider the Blue Zone benefits of senior communities.

Some of Buettner’s evidence-based common denominators among the world’s oldest-living populations in five separate “zones” can be used when considering where to retire. The common denominators also show up on the list of advantages to choosing a senior living community.

Here are five benefits to consider:

1. Social connections

Social activity is an essential element in each of the Blue Zone societies. Maintaining a circle of friends committed to supporting one another’s emotional and social needs can improve seniors’ long-term health. And research in The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences confirms that community-dwelling older adults with socially active lives have significantly lower disability and cognitive decline rates.

Senior living communities mitigate the social isolation that can result in detrimental health consequences such as depression and disease. When older adults move into an assisted living community, they are encouraged to participate in social activities related to their specific hobbies and interests.

2. Healthy diet

Buettner’s research showed that residents of the Blue Zones share dietary habits that keep them healthy well into their 90s. While most are not strict vegetarians, they eat lots of vegetables, keep meat to a minimum, and stay away from processed foods.

Many older adults find it difficult to maintain a healthy diet when they live on their own. At a senior living community, they can enjoy well-balanced meals in an environment that offers an opportunity to socialize with friends at each meal.

3. Lower stress levels

Chronic stress causes inflammation and numerous health problems. Although their methods of dealing with stress may differ, the Blue Zone communities have found effective ways of reducing tension before it reaches toxic levels.

Blue Zone benefits of senior communities can include alleviating stress by freeing residents of the worries of maintaining a house, such as mowing, gutter cleaning, and snow removal. Because most communities offer healthy meals and transportation, the stress of cooking and driving in heavy traffic is also removed.

4. Physical activity

People in the Blue Zones have everyday routines that involve moving about. They walk to the market or to visit a neighbor. Even the oldest of them stay engaged by working in their gardens, and some even continue to do some types of manual labor well past the point of typical retirement age in other countries.

Senior communities offer older adults opportunities to engage in fitness classes that match the residents’ specific fitness needs. These are on-site activities that require no driving and provide another occasion for socializing. Senior wellness programs are available to keep residents active and engaged, helping to ensure a healthy body and mind. Some even have community gardens where residents can benefit from all aspects of working the earth and sowing a healthy harvest.

5. Independence

Most of the older adults in the Blue Zones maintain their independence with the support of community and family members. And according to studies cited by Harvard Health Publishing, those who keep their independence through community connectedness tend to live longer and have fewer health issues.

The fear of losing their independence threatens many aging adults who do not have the same type of support. However, a senior living community can provide seniors the support to live independently, knowing that any assistance they might require is nearby.

Blue Zone benefits of senior communities could contribute to your long-term health

The evidence suggests that applying the lessons imparted from the Blue Zones may play a part in living a long and healthy life. And because senior living communities may be providing many of these benefits already, it is reasonable to believe that they can also contribute to a safe and healthful lifestyle.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff