“Happy Hundreds”

It is easier to find grumbles than smiles.  More of the headlines about getting old tend to be negative.  Issues about ill-health, limited finances and isolation dominate many discussions about ageing.

With this mood music, how long will it be before we talk ourselves into early graves?  Some research from America suggests there is a way of turning grumbles into smiles.

 The Institute for Ageing research in New York studied the attitudes of people who lived to 100 in an ethnic group of Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe.  They found that they were cheerful, sociable and conscientious.  They had a positive attitude to life and a large social network.

The researchers were tending toward the conclusion that there may be some genetic reason behind this.  I think the explanation could be simpler and more obvious than that.

The people had a strong sense of community and a good social network, in which they could feel safe and secure.  Many of these things are taken from older people in Western societies as families are evermore geographically dispersed and society becomes more fragmented.

Perhaps that is why retirement communities work well – they offer safety and security, as well as a new social network.  It is also important to maintain links with family and friends in the local community, which is why retirement villages should be built in urban locations, not in some isolated rural idyll.

Hopefully a research study in thirty years’ time will find new communities full of smiles, living till they reach the ……………

Happy Hundreds

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1 Response to “Happy Hundreds”

  1. davidwfreeman237 says:

    This is a gentle and well thought out, thought provoking piece. If one as a retired person watches day time TV in Relocation and Escape to the Country, one can if the programme is correct revisit areas and haunts of ones youth escaping to ones city pad or those rollong hills and freedom one had as a youngster. It all brings to life the aspirations of the participants to live near or in a commumnity-Not many wish to life in complete rural or city isolation? They are all looking for a community to join, participate in and belong Too! It is the sound and touch of another human being? This is so true when one reaches thoses latter years of life when one is alone, and only has the memories of loved ones, companions, etc: Think on one can be alone in a crowd, and yet with people? It is up to all of us to create a community, with independant living. We do not have to be crowded in to one hugh room, the TV blaring and the nursing staff flitting around us? Wake up look around you and join or participate in your own community.

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