I recently saw a Ted Talk on the secret of living longer. You may be surprised to hear what the most common predictor of long life is. In the talk, the psychologist reveals the strongest predictors are close relationships and social integration. This is certainly counterintuitive to what we’ve been hearing as it rates higher than exercise, weight and even clean air.
The researcher, a psychologist named Susan Pinker traveled to the Italian island of Sardinia to study the fact that they have more than six times as many centenarians as the mainland and ten times as many as North America. She discovered it has less to do with diet and more to do with their emphasis on close personal and face-to-face interactions.
Having been in the assisted living business for the past 19 years, I must admit, this was no surprise to me. I have certainly witnessed over the years that the people who have close personal relationships with family and friends seem to be happier and healthier. They typically complain less, and have less somatic complaints.
In this video the researcher points out the importance of face-to-face contact releases oxytocin and dopamine is generated which is a natural pain killer. She points out that having three stable relationships seems to be the magic number. She goes on to illustrate that men who have had a stroke are better protected by social contact than medication. There are lower rates of dementia in people who are socially connected. In our culture, one quarter of people do not have anyone to talk to and social isolation is the public health risk of our time.
At Argent Court, we are committed to keeping people active and connected through meaningful activities. We strive to connect our residents to the community through weekly outings in the area to include lunch bunch, local shopping trips and library visits to name a few. We also bring people in through programs such as reading with local elementary students and interaction with local college students. As Ms. Pinker points out, building your village is a matter of life and death. At Argent Court, we work daily to build and maintain our community or village. If you have a loved one you believe is socially isolated and needs help with activities of daily living, give us a call. We’re happy to help.