In the Blue Zones, five places on Earth where people consistently live to be 100 or older, researchers have found several common denominators for this longevity. And today, many senior living communities like Sonrisa Senior Living have embraced these principles of life and incorporated them into the greater plan to help residents live long and happy lives. Take a look at how the Blue Zones help make senior living the best choice in retirement.
Moving naturally is common to people in the Blue Zones where life is slower and simpler. People walk rather than drive, they get exercise in their gardens and homes, and rely more on themselves than mechanical devices.
Although senior living communities do provide residents with all the normal machines and equipment they expect, it’s also normal for communities to offer plenty of ways for residents to get moving too. For example, exercise classes like stretching, aqua aerobics and walking groups, and fitness areas indoors and outside (think gardening and pickleball!) help residents get more daily movement and stay fit and healthy. Take a closer look in our blog, “Everyday Fitness Tips to Support Successful Aging.”
Sense of purpose
Retirement has many plusses, but it can often leave older adults without the sense of purpose that the Blue Zones centenarians cite as an important part of longevity. In the Blue Zones seniors remain a vital part of the family and community, staying engaged by caring for younger generations, working around the home and being there for friends throughout their lives.
In senior living, residents also have many ways to find their purpose through volunteering, participating in activities like community gardens and offering to share their knowledge in a workshop. There are no limits and senior living staff work hard to help each resident find their purpose and live a fulfilling life. Find out more about the importance of purpose in our blog, “How Purpose Supports Successful Aging.”
Downshift for stress relief
Stress is inescapable even in the Blue Zones, but people there have developed stress relief tactics that help them “downshift” and avoid the health impacts of stress. Among these are prayers and nature walks, mainstays of the residents of Loma Linda, CA; daily naps which are favored by Greek Ikarians; and the ever-popular happy hour that Sardinians embrace with the local (and healthful!) Cannonau wine.
In senior living, the carefree lifestyle alone can help minimize stress, but communities also provide stress-relieving options like mediation, yoga, and artistic endeavors like painting classes. Also common are happy hours where residents can unwind with friends and other fun options like movies, clubs, and outings. Find out more in the bluezones.com article, “13 Unusual Ways to Shed Stress (Lessons from the World’s Blue Zones).”
Residents of the Blue Zones also have similar diets, primarily fresh plant-based food with little meat. Among the many food options from the Blue Zones are fruits and vegetables, legumes like beans, nuts, and whole grains like barley and oats, but little processed foods that are full of sugar, fats and preservatives. Blue Zone residents also prefer water, coffee, and tea rather than soda and many observe the 80/20 rule which means eating only until you are 80% full to keep weight down and minimize obesity.
In senior living communities menu options are much more healthful than in years past with attention given to freshness as well as nutrition and taste. Chef-prepared meals are served in a fine-dining atmosphere with friends, not unlike the meals in the Blue Zones where friends and family gather together and enjoy another Blue Zones principle, wine at 5! Learn more in the bluezone.com article, “Blue Zones Diet: Food Secrets of the World’s Longest-Lived People.”
Across the Blue Zones residents also embrace their faith which is not only spiritual but an important social connection too. Being part of a faith community provides a sense of belonging and purpose adding years to their lives.
Senior living communities recognize the importance of faith and many offer onsite services as well as transportation to local places of worship for residents. They also work hard to ensure an inclusive and diverse environment, so everyone feels accepted and welcome.
Finally, Blue Zones residents have strong ties to friends, often throughout their lives, and hold them in high esteem as essential elements of their own well-being. In Senior Living friendships grow and prosper as well, and there is even more time to spend with dear companions and enjoy all the amenities and events going on every day. More about friendship is available in our blog, “Break the Ice: Tips for Making New Friends in Your New Retirement Community Home.”
Want to learn more about the “Blue Zones” and how can they help you live a more independent, happy life? Download our free Guide to Aging Well. Life at Sonrisa Senior Living is carefree and centered on a healthy, fulfilling, and purposeful lifestyle. Contact us today to learn more and schedule a tour of our beautiful neighborhood!