Two Hearts Are Better Than One

Two Hearts Are Better Than One

March 9, 2022

Would you care for some stone soup? If that odd terminology rings a bell, chances are that somewhere in your grade school career you learned the centuries-old folk tale titled, yes, “Stone Soup.” In it, a traveler enters an inhospitable village, sets up a cooking pot in the middle of town, drops in a stone, and starts making soup. One by one, the villagers – all of whom prefer being left alone – come out to investigate. The traveler invites each one to add something to the stone soup as a garnish. Soon, carrots, potatoes, onions, beef, and other bits of tasty food are added. At last, the stone is removed, and the entire village enjoys the soup together instead of gnawing on their singular foods alone. Proving that acting in the community leads to a better life for all.

As it turns out, what’s true for the stomach is also true for the soul. What most of us call loneliness, and what scientists now identify as social isolation, is living removed from others. Without companionship. Without community. And that lack of community, that sense of loneliness, can create serious physical and mental problems regardless of one’s age. Yet, as you may suspect, seniors are the group most likely to experience social isolation, with 28% of this population living alone. And since, according to the National Institute of Health, social isolation can contribute to issues like depression, heart disease, and cognitive decline, finding a community to call your own is important for lifelong happiness and better health.

 

Understanding social isolation

The causes of social isolation are not surprising: The sudden loss of a loved one, living alone combined with neighbors and friends moving away or passing on, an inability to get out and be as active as you once were. But why do those and similar circumstances affect people’s health in such a negative fashion? Groundbreaking work from the late Dr. John T. Cacioppo, former director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, found that loneliness automatically triggers a set of physical and mental processes. Processes that either initiate or exacerbate physical and mental declines Dr. Cacioppo’s wife and collaborator, Stephanie Cacioppo, Ph.D., had this to say about social isolation:

“The misery and suffering caused by chronic loneliness are very real and warrant attention. As a social species, we are accountable to help our lonely children, parents, neighbors, and even strangers, in the same way, we would treat ourselves. Treating loneliness is our collective responsibility.”

 

Overcoming social isolation

In the end, avoiding or overcoming social isolation comes to changing one’s circumstances. And these changes need not be massive or difficult. Rebuilding a sense of community in your life can be as simple as reaching out to friends with whom you’ve lost touch. Or creating a Facebook group of old schoolmates or coworkers. If you’re a person of faith, re-engage with the programs at your church. Or consider volunteering for a non-profit that’s near-and-dear to your heart. Consider taking up a new hobby or getting back into one you used to love – and then join a group of fellow enthusiasts.

Of course, one great – and fairly instantaneous – way of overcoming social isolation is to move into a senior living community like those operated by Bridge Senior Living wherethe opportunities for real, meaningful relationships are almost endless. And incredibly valuable to your good health.

 

The Bridge Senior Living way

At Bridge Senior Living we center everything we do around two things – individual well-being and the idea of community (which, of course, helps foster well-being). The goal for every Bridge-managed community is to transform the generic term “community” into the truest sense of the word – a place where friendships, social interaction, personal growth, and a shared sense of purpose flourish. Here are just two of the ways Bridge communities work to make that happen:

 

Discover Your Spark®

With Discover Your Spark®, you’re invited and assisted in rediscovering the things you once loved to do, the things you’ve always wanted to try, and some things you might enjoy if only you knew they existed. From gardening to sports and even trips into town for an afternoon of shopping, Discover Your Spark can open new avenues for fun, friendship, and fulfillment.

 

Signature programs

Bridge Senior Living-managed communities feature numerous programs designed to keep residents active physically, mentally, and socially. Many of these programs take place in communities’ modern facilities, such as indoor heated pools and state-of-the-art exercise equipment. Group workout classes are led by actual fitness experts. Each community also offers such things as art classes, computer labs, and movie nights, so there’s never a dull moment.

Want to know more about life at Bridge-managed communities? Don’t hesitate to contact us or the community nearest you, or simply keep browsing this website.

 

 

 

 

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