Our series on everyday ways to support successful aging has been based on the lifestyle traits of residents in Blue Zones®, regions in the world where people live the longest. While the ideas behind these lifestyle traits are decidedly low tech, you might find that technology makes it easier for seniors to achieve them – particularly as COVID-19 keeps you at home most of the time. Here’s how.
For more information on how we incorporate the Blue Zones’ approach into senior living, check out our Successful Secrets to Aging Guide!
The Power of the Power 9®
Blue Zones regions include: Sardinia, Italy; the Greek island of Ikaria; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica and Okinawa, Japan. Research has found that residents here share these lifestyle traits, known as the Power 9, that help them live longer and enjoy their best lives:
- Move Naturally – Keep moving in daily life and avoid being sedentary.
- Purpose – Have a reason to get up and out of bed every day.
- Downshift – Find a daily routine that helps you reduce stress.
- Hara Hachi Bu – Stop eating when you feel 80% full.
- Plant Slant – Eat a primarily plant-based diet.
- Wine @ 5 – Drink alcohol in moderation regularly.
- Belong – Participate in a faith-based community of some kind.
- Loved Ones First – Put family first in all decision making.
- Right Tribe – Find a circle of friends that share your commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
Tech Tools to Support Successful Aging
Although it may seem harder to achieve just about anything these days as the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, don’t let that discourage you. You can still live your best life by incorporating Blue Zones’ lifestyle traits to help with successful aging. All it takes is a little creativity and a little technology to go with it!
Food and Fitness – To help you achieve the lifestyle traits Move Naturally, Hara Hachi Bu and Plant Slant you could try using wearable technology like Fitbit to track your activity, sleep, food habits, weight and more. Also, Livestrong’s MyPlate app can help you track consumption habits and create custom meal plans including vegetarian options.
Stress – Who isn’t stressed right now? But incorporating a routine to Downshift as Blue Zones’ residents do is crucial to successful aging. Headspace is now offering a free meditation and mindfulness content on topics such as navigating change, anxiety and dealing with difficult times. Calm also has a free library of meditations, livestreams and tools as such mindfulness exercises.
Purpose and Belonging – Practicing these lifestyle traits can be as simple as using technology to find the best place to plug in. To find purpose in helping others; check VolunteerMatch and SeniorCorps to see what local options are available. In Blue Zones, belonging is tied to taking part in a faith-based community. Most religious organizations are still holding services online making it easy to participate; simply check local churches. In addition, Lifeway also offers free online bible studies.
Connection – This is so important now because we’re more isolated than we’ve ever been. Achieving the Loved Ones First trait can be as simple as contacting at least one friend or family member daily using Zoom, FaceTime or another video chat option. Connecting with The Right Tribe means finding others committed to healthy living. You can do that through HealthUnlocked Communities, a social network that provides a space to meet others interested in the same health topics.
For more information, check out our Secrets to Successful Aging Guide, or contact a community near you to arrange a virtual tour!