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Social Connections Among Keys to Successful Aging

By Greg Pascucci

Social Connections Among Keys to Successful AgingA study by Drexel University School of Public Health examined the connections between

health, behavior and “social capital” (defined as the ties that build trust, connection, and participation) and found that older adults who reported greater social capital tended to maintain their independence and were healthier than their peers who experienced lower social capital.

Marge Kelly, a resident at The Carlisle Naples in North Naples, says that being able to have these social connections is what drew her to the luxury active retirement community 12 years ago.

“You never feel alone,” she said. “You can sit down any place at The Carlisle and there will always be someone to talk with. There’s a real feeling of community here.”

For Mrs. Kelly and her neighbors, the community’s complimentary continental breakfast in The Carlisle Room is one of many gathering hubs.

“We really enjoy breakfast,” she added. “It’s where everyone seems to go to meet up with friends before beginning our day.”

Research also touts the benefits of dining with others. Enjoying a meal with at least one other person increases the amount of food eaten by 35 percent!

The Drexel University study also examined how trust in neighbors played a role in one’s aging/health. Not surprisingly, participants who felt trustful of their community tended to be more engaged and healthier.

“I had friends living at The Carlisle,” explained Mrs. Kelly. “I knew I’d be better off living here too—a place where I could be taken of.”

She was especially grateful that she didn’t have to weather Hurricane Irma alone. In addition to a close-knit group of friends and neighbors, she was comforted knowing The Carlisle team remained onsite during the storm to ensure residents’ safety and wellbeing.

High social capital is also tied to improved cognitive function. The Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago conducted a study with over 1,100 seniors without dementia then tested their cognitive function over a 12-year period. Participants with frequent social contact had a rate of cognitive decline that was a staggering 70 percent less than their study counterparts.

Jo Spiess, who has lived at The Carlisle for over a decade, concurs.

“I spent 10 years on the Welcoming Committee, with 6-7 of those years as the president,” she said. “Being able to socialize has been good for the brain.”

Cliff Bransby, another longtime Carlisle resident, also credits the CARF-accredited community with playing a role in his successful aging.

“My family is far away in Montana but everyone here has become my family,” he said. “I’m so glad I’m here. I made the right move at the right time 14 years ago. It’s a wonderful and fun place to live!”

Located at 6945 Carlisle Court in Naples, The Carlisle offers spacious one-and two-bedroom residences, weekly housekeeping and flat linen services, basic cable TV, all utilities except telephone, and a complimentary full breakfast plus choice of lunch or dinner in the community’s gourmet-style restaurant. For more information about the community, please call 239-221-0017 or visit www.TheCarlisleNaples.com.

The Carlisle, a luxury, resort-style senior living community in North Naples, offers both Independent and Assisted Living lifestyles. Available on a monthly fee basis, the ECC-licensed and CARF-accredited community boasts a full range of services and amenities including 12-hour restaurant dining, housekeeping, transportation and activities. Located on Airport-Pulling Road, between Pine Ridge and Immokalee Roads, the award-winning community’s lush tropical environment is highlighted with meandering walking paths around three lakes and tranquility gardens. For more information or to schedule a tour, please call Director of Marketing Greg Pascucci at 239-221-0017.

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