Everyday Ways to Support Successful Aging: Purpose

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 

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Having purpose in life is a key to aging well. There’s no group that knows that better than residents in Blue Zones®, five regions in the world where people seem to live the longest. In fact, Blue Zones’ researchers say having purpose can add up to seven years to your life expectancy. The trouble is many of us feel a bit lost in retirement, not really knowing where we belong without our identity tied to work. What’s more, as COVID-19 continues to keep us isolated at home, our options to discover new purpose seems even more limited. We can help with these tips!

For more information on how we incorporate the Blue Zones’ approach to fitness in senior living, check out our Successful Secrets to Aging Guide!

senior living guide to aging well

Purposeful Living in the Blue Zones

The Blue Zones regions include: Sardinia, Italy; the Greek island of Ikaria; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica and Okinawa, Japan. Research in these Blue Zones has found that residents share similar lifestyle traits known as the Power 9®.  We’ve discussed all these traits in past blogs [link], but the idea of “why I wake up in the morning” is how these residents define purpose. The Okinawans refer to it as “Ikigai” and the Nicoyans call it “plan de vida.”

Finding Your Purpose

There’s not necessarily a right or wrong way to go about finding renewed purpose in retirement, but these tips can get you started.

Check Your Frame of Mind – It’s important that you’re open to new opportunities and that you don’t put pressure on yourself to find purpose right away or let fear or failing derail you. Having the right frame of mind will allow you to enjoy the process and quite simply, to get more out of it.

Take Stock – Think about what talents, strengths and abilities you have to offer. In addition, consider foods, books, movies, hobbies and even types of people you are drawn to. Then explore what attracts you to these things and how you might be able to expand on them.

Go Back –  As we go from children to the responsibilities of adulthood, sometimes we forget the things that once brought us true joy. This is a great opportunity to think back yourself and/or to ask childhood friends and family members what they remember you being passionate about.

Make a Difference – Often, finding purpose can be as easy as helping others. Maybe there’s a cause already near to your heart or you could check with friends and family to see what organizations they support.

Making It Happen During COVID-19

As we mentioned earlier, it may seem too hard to try anything new right now. But, being isolated at home for extended periods can be hard on your physical and mental health. With all this extra time, finding renewed purpose may be easier than you think. Safely, of course.

If you’re considering volunteering, check out VolunteerMatch or SeniorCorps  to see what opportunities might be available in your area. There are also plenty of online opportunities to learn something new from instruments to languages to Ivy League classes through Class Central or TakeLessons. If you’re considering getting more fit, try free, on-demand classes through the YMCA. Even if travelling is more your thing, you can go ahead and plan your next trip with these handy resources from Kayak.

For more information check out our COVID-19 Survival Guide for Seniors (and those who love them), or contact a community near you to arrange a virtual tour!

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