The Power of Community
By Catherine Campbell
Over a lifetime, people might belong to communities for many reasons – shared interests, companionship, the opportunity to add depth to life experiences and for support. The community that acts as a support network can be irreplaceable. Change is inevitable, however, and support networks and communities can shrink just when they are needed most. As people age, and their independence gradually declines, they naturally require more support. When it’s absent, for whatever reason, the result is often stress, anxiety and a premature decline in physical health.
Jerry and Sid met at The Berkeley Gladstone, and very quickly a friendship evolved. They have many shared interests and enjoy each other’s company. Sid, who has been wheelchair-bound for about a year, says there is no question he is better off living in a retirement residence. ‘I have much greater mobility because I live at The Berkeley.’ And, Jerry stays busy helping Sid wheel around. It is a win-win situation – Sid gets where he needs to go, and Jerry is pleased to be of assistance – and both feel blessed for the companionship.
Shirley and Jean moved into The Berkeley Gladstone with their cats. Sharing a love for felines, they too became fast friends. Jean admits she would only move to The Berkeley if she could bring her cat. The dynamic companions are very active in the community, partaking in every activity The Berkeley offers.
For seniors, retirement living – with its built-in support network – can be the perfect antidote to loneliness, stress and anxiety. It can also lead to a greater sense of independence. Not having to depend on family and friends’ visits, simply knowing there are many people to rely on daily, offers peace of mind. It is equally as important to have a community of people with whom to regularly engage, share your memories from a generational perspective and with whom you have common interests. Friends, new and old, add joy to life at any age.
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