How Blue Zones® Can Help You With Aging

Man and woman sitting at the table enjoying breakfast

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. 



Is there a secret to aging well? According to some researchers, the answer is a resounding yes. In fact, there are five regions in the world where people seem to live the longest. They are known as Blue Zones®. But what is it about these places? And can it be applied to your life? Let’s find out.

Behind Blue Zones®

The concept originated from the demographic work of Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain. As published in the Journal of Experimental Gerontology, they identified Sardinia, Italy, as having the highest concentration of males aged 100 or older (centenarians) and drew concentric blue circles on a map to highlight the specific villages where this occurred. They referred to the area inside as the blue zone.

Researcher Dan Buettner and his colleagues then built on that work and identified other longevity hotspots around the world, calling the group of five Blue Zones®.

Where Are the Blue Zones®?

Each of these five regions has a unique claim to longevity that helps us to learn more about aging well.

  1. Sardinia: Barbagia is the region in Sardinia where Blue Zone research originated and it has the world’s greatest concentration of male centenarians.
  2. Ikaria: A Greek island in the Aegean Sea with the lowest rate of middle-aged mortality and the lowest rate of dementia.
  3. Loma Linda: This California city is not only the only place in the United States to make the list, it’s also home to a high concentration of Seventh Day Adventist who happen to outlive other North Americans by an average of 10 years.
  4. Nicoya Peninsula: This region in Costa Rica has one of the lowest rates of middle-aged mortality and the second highest concentration of male centenarians.
  5. Okinawa: Women over 70 in this Japanese city are the longest-living population anywhere in the world.

For more information on the Blue Zones® approach, check out our Successful Secrets to Aging Guide!

senior living guide to aging well

Common Characteristics

It’s hard to imagine that regions this far flung from each other would have much in common. However, residents actually do share lifestyle traits that researchers believe any of us can apply to live healthier, happier and perhaps even longer lives. These traits are known as the Power 9®:

  • Move Naturally – Keep moving in daily life and avoid being sedentary.
  • Purpose – Have a reason to get up and out of bed every day.
  • Down Shift – Find a daily routine that helps you reduce stress.
  • Hara Hachi Bu – Known as the 80% rule to stop eating before you feel 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.

A Blue Zone Approach in Senior Living

Our senior living communities support this approach by keeping residents as active, independent and socially connected as possible. The lifestyle here builds on individual preferences to empower each person to live their best life, and our Vibrant Living Program offers the familiar, as well as the unexpected to inspire joy, purpose and wellbeing.

Here’s what some of our families have to say:

 “The staff is excellent. They have a lot of different activities, like bingo and crafts. They ask the residents’ input about different places they want to go. They have exercise classes, movie nights and trips to the senior center. The food is good, and my mother likes it.”
-Daughter of Resident [Texas Star]

 “I am so pleased with the way Dad is doing. He has a group of cronies that he dines with that are interesting, and he has a routine that suits him well.”
-Family of Resident [Vitality Court]

 “The plan was for mom to stay here for two weeks, while I moved. She loved it so much she wanted to stay – and now she’s too busy for me! When I call her, she doesn’t have time to talk because she’s doing exercise or listening to music or it’s time for Bingo! What a blessing!”
-Daughter of Resident [Maristone of Providence]

Vitality Living half Blossom
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