It Takes a Village: Intentional Healthy Living for All Ages

It Takes a Village: Intentional Healthy Living for All Ages

Online support — and friendly competition — certainly helps some hit their fitness goals and create fulfilling friendships both online and in real life.

But what about for those non-physical activity related to-dos? How else can support help a person live healthier?

Although only a few decades of scholarship have attempted to answer the question of what makes people happy, one clear element has emerged: community.

community of all ages

Familial support, a sense of belonging and purpose cultivated throughout one’s life, this is the key to a more joyful existence — and perhaps longevity, if famously long-lived communities, such as Okinawa, Japan, and Sardinia, off the coast of Italy, are any indication.

Living with family for one’s entire life is the norm in much of the world. But for regions where individuals typically grow up and leave the nuclear family — the U.S., U.K., Scandinavia, etc. — there’s a movement toward intentional collective living, which can benefit the health of everyone involved.

Social Support for Seniors

In an article in The Telegraph, writer Lacy Cavendish references a survey finding that one-third of adults worry about their parents being lonely and feel they do not have enough time to spend with elderly relatives. Just as many seniors themselves worry about maintaining an active social life and the cost of retirement living.

The solution: communal living.

Ann Clement, a senior who lives in a communal housing situation in British Columbia, told Senior Living Magazine, “I had retired from the big city to an acreage on Salt Spring Island five years ago … I had lots of friends there, but I wanted to have interaction with people as a natural part of my daily life, not to have to phone ahead to make an appointment and then drive over to see them. I wanted to be able to relate to people in a spontaneous, unprogrammed way.”

READ  Matchup All-Star: Lisa Freeman Challenges Her Friends and Fellow Users

This kind of social support may help enhance longevity and even reduce a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s or other forms of cognitive decline, some studies have found. When maintaining a house or garden becomes too taxing for one individual, another is there to help out, reducing the cost burden on the individual because they do not require in-home caregivers or expensive moves to retirement communities.

Built-In Babysitters

In The Telegraph, one single mom talks about how she shared a home with another single mom and her daughter.

“It is very intense living as a single mother with one child, but living with Aoife meant we both supported each other. We found a lovely house and we both had our own space, but we also played an important part in sharing each other’s child. The day-to-day stuff was so necessary as well. If I was going to be late, I knew Aoife would be there.”

Co-abode.com is a website that serves for single moms to find like-minded mothers to share homes with, creating new communal communities across the U.S. all the time. Similar websites have popped up in Denmark, Norway and other countries.

Affordable Housing through Community Living

Across the globe, people of all ages and means are living together in housing communities to create a more affordable (and perhaps eco-friendly) lifestyle, such as Chicago’s Stone Soup intentional housing community, or Boneyard Studios, a tiny house community living space in Washington, D.C. where autonomous individuals in their “tiny house” urban homes have set up shop together.

Chicago's Stone Soup intentional housing community

Under these arrangements, individuals can “infill” under-used urban areas in need of redevelopment, supporters told NPR in February, while using a pooled income to afford organic food and other healthy perks.

READ  How To Become an MVP

Stone Soup says its community is all about living two ways: with joy and for justice.

TELL US: Would you ever consider community living? How do you access community support in your life?

Facebook Comments
Stridekick

Stridekick

Stridekick is an online and mobile platform that allows individuals to create and join fun fitness challenges regardless of which wearable device they own or level of fitness. Join a community of other health minded individuals in stepping towards your health goals today!
Stridekick