According to a 75 year study by Harvard University, the key to a happy life isn’t money, fame or your career. The key to happiness is as simple as a good relationship. According to the study’s current director, Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor, Robert Waldinger strong relationships make us happier and healthier.
The study began in 1938 with the tracking of 724 Boston men of different socioeconomic backgrounds. Now in its 75th year, the study continues. Every two years the remaining participants answer a series of questions in addition to brain scans and blood work. The study revealed that happier, healthier individuals were more likely to maintain relationships. It also revealed that health problems lead to feelings of isolation and depression.
All the research indicated that strong social bonds have a positive impact on our long term physical and mental health. Though it isn’t easy to make friends at any age, it becomes especially difficult as we age. During our teens and early adult years we are surrounded by people with similar interests, making it easier to foster friendships. Replacing friendships with colleagues after retirement has also been proven to make you happier during senior years.
Those whom are well connected to friends, family and co-workers tend to be happier, healthier and live longer than there less active counterparts. Living in isolation leads to a shorter life. Data collected in the study showed that those in unsatisfying relationships at age 50 experienced emotional pain that magnified physical pain at age 80.
Happiness is also dependent on who you marry. Though it may be challenging for couples to sustain romantic feelings for generations, but even those who frequently bickered with their spouse reported feeling more secure and had sharper memories.
As oppose to finding happier relationships later in life, the study suggests healthier people are happier and more likely to maintain relationships. This shows the importance of eating healthy, staying active and monitoring blood pressure.
Assisted living can play a vital role in happiness as we age. A senior living community is a break from isolation and solitude. Our welcoming, community atmosphere encourages activity and fosters friendship. This environment can contribute to life extending happiness.
Seniors join together to enjoy crafts, games, movies outings, entertainment and other activities. Our Activity Directors prepare events that keep residents active and engaged. When new seniors move to our retirement community, we conduct an activity survey to better understand each resident’s interests and preferences.
While moving to an assisted living facility can be unfamiliar and scary, it does provide a true sense of belonging and an extended family. The social bonds that an assisted living community provides plays an important role in protecting our long-term physical and mental health.