jax_0931What’s the key to leading a long, happy life? As it turns out, the secret to happiness are strong relationships with your spouse, family and friends. For seniors, assisted living communities could improve overall happiness and lead to longer, more fulfilling lives.

In 1938, Harvard University began tracking 724 men of varying socioeconomic backgrounds. Every two years after the study began, participants were interviewed and underwent brain and blood exams.

The study has provided Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor, Robert Waldinger, with 75 years of research and solid clues as what factors contribute to a happy, healthier life versus a life dominated by health problems and depression. The study revealed that strong social bonds are a vital link in preserving physical and mental health in the long term. Health problems also play a role in feelings of melancholy and isolation.

Though it seems simple, it can be challenging to make new friends at any age. With school and careers, we are surrounded by people throughout our teens and twenty’s and find it much easier to develop relationships. As we age, it can be more difficult to make friends as our social circles begin to shrink. Those who replace workplace friends after they retire tend to lead happy lives during their senior years, Waldinger derived.

Being well connected with family, friends and the community results in longer, healthier and happier lives. People that live in isolation from others are not as happy and tend to experience shorter lifespans. The study concluded that people who were experiencing unhappy relationships and emotional pain at age 50 had magnified physical pain at 80. The Harvard study also concluded that individuals leading healthy lives were more likely to develop and maintain beneficial relationships.

Seniors who move to an assisted living community after retirement are less likely to feel isolated and live in solitude. A structured environment will facilitate social connections and contribute to life extending happiness. At, Regency, we have Activity Directors who plan and orchestrate exercise, activities, crafts, events, entertainment and outings weekly. Rather than being alone at home, retirement communities and assisted living facilities help to foster a sense of community and increase social interaction.

After a new resident joins our community, we conduct activity surveys to better understand his or her preferences and hobbies. We use this information to help them make friends and become better acquainted with the community.

While it can be challenging to move away from the comforts of home in favor of an assisted living facility, many experience greater happiness and feelings of belonging after only a few short weeks. It’s these bonds and social interactions that increase physical and mental health.

To learn more about the impact assisted living can have on happiness, please call 731-661-9888.