Social Connectivity and Happiness in Retirement
As you look back on the past several decades, what do you see? A productive career? A warm and loving family? A fantastic group of friends? Fulfilling hobbies and leisure time?
No matter what you see in your mind’s eye, you’ve lived your best life — in fact, you may still be enjoying many of those things.
Just the idea of giving up that life as you consider moving to a retirement community might be overwhelming. But there’s good news: Making a move shouldn't mean you need to trade away everything that brought you pleasure.
If you’ve chosen the option that’s best suited to your needs, whether you’re living at home or in a rental or Life Plan Community, we think your next chapter should add to your life enjoyment.
Understanding the risk of social isolation and loneliness
Whether you're still living your best life now or starting to feel some pangs of disconnectedness from the life you knew, for many people the risk of social isolation and loneliness tends to increase as the years go by. And seniors who are lonely or isolated are also more likely to be in poor physical or mental health, according to a 2009 study by the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project.1
On the flip side, a 2011 Gallup survey found that participants aged 65+ who indicated they engaged in social activity reported higher levels of enjoyment and happiness - in fact, three or more hours of social time resulted in a 50%+ increase - as compared to those who did not.2
Retirement communities exist for many reasons, and opportunities to help residents maintain happiness and social connectivity into their later years is chief among them. The science supports just how important that social connectivity and happiness is.
Change your location, not your lifestyle
Whether you want to remain near where you currently live or are eager to explore a new area, location is a critical component of your decision-making process.
Think about the life you want at your fingertips: Have you always loved being a season ticket holder for your local theater company? Forever hungry to try the newest dining hot spots with friends and family? Is membership at a nearby country club or gym important in your everyday life?
Don’t discount factors like proximity to a vibrant arts and culture scene, delicious restaurants, and a network of high-quality healthcare providers in maintaining the lifestyle you love.
Vi has 10 communities across the United States whose locations have been carefully curated to ensure easier access to all these types of activities.
And despite all the community amenities and nearby attractions, many of our residents maintain vacation homes elsewhere in the country and continue to enjoy travel to those homes and all over the world well into this new chapter of their lives.
Expand your social circle
If you’re planning to move into a senior community, know it doesn’t mean kissing your social life goodbye. In fact, many communities have resident committees dedicated to welcoming new residents.
It likely won't be long before you have an invitation to dine at a table full of folks eager to meet you! You may find a new golf partner or a fellow animal lover to join on walks with your furry friend.
Get out of your comfort zone...and fall in love with new activities
Today’s retirement communities are not your grandpa’s senior living. They’ve evolved to better suit the worldly tastes and robust interests of today’s senior population.
Along with well-appointed apartments designed to your specifications, imagine cozy lounges where you can enjoy intimate conversation over a glass of wine, lush grounds perfect for a morning stroll with friends, and multiple restaurants to enjoy with friends and family.
Many communities, including all 10 Vi communities, employ full-time Lifestyle Directors dedicated to surprising always-curious residents with fun new activities to try. That means you can enjoy cocktail hour with your friends down the hall before heading to the ballet. Or pick up a paintbrush and discover you’re not just an art lover — you’re an artist.
Our residents have fascinating careers and incredible hobbies — just ask them:
Peter Fuchs, who lives at Vi at Aventura, is still a hard-working musician: He conducts and writes music for the Hallandale Symphonic Pops Orchestra and Sugar Pops Orchestra in nearby Coral Springs, Florida.
Skip Bloomgarden has been a resident at Vi at Lakeside Village for more than 20 years. In his apartment, an entire wall is adorned with bookshelves. Each shelf lined with mementoes from a lifetime of globetrotting; packed to the brim with colorful paperbacks, each bearing the name of a city in Mexico.
Vi at La Jolla Village residents Georgina and Lu Sham danced with the Cabrillo International Folk Dancers in Balboa Park, California for nearly 20 years. Georgina still dances with the group, teaches and organizes dance festivals.
Your life — only better
There are unlimited opportunities for happiness in the next chapter of your life, whether you’re remaining in your home to age in place or moving to a retirement community. Choosing the option that’s the best fit for you can mean maintaining your lifestyle — and a new lease on life that extends well into your future!
Vi communities operate under a Living Well philosophy, which includes fostering mind, body, and spirit through a variety of activities. The basic premise: Live longer, better.
If you have questions about how to navigate the social aspects of your next move, we’d love to talk more — or even introduce you to a few residents who could become fellow theater patrons, gym buddies, or dining companions.
References1. Social Disconnectedness , Perceived Isolation, And Health Among Older Adults (Journal of Health and Social Behavior, March 2009)
2. U.S. Seniors Maintain Happiness Highs With Less Social Time (Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, December 2011)