Did you know? Investing time with family can add up to six years to your life.
Blue Zones® researchers discovered that the healthiest, happiest centenarians in the world tend to build their lives around their families. Taking care of their ohana is their main purpose in life. This lifelong devotion to family pays off. In Sardinia and other Blue Zones, younger generations return the love and care they received from their parents and grandparents. Residents living in the original Blue Zones areas share common lifestyle habits called Power 9®—helping them live longer, healthier, happier lives. Prioritizing Family First is one of them.
Studies show that elders who live with their families tend to eat healthier, experience less stress, and have fewer serious accidents, such as falls. They also have sharper mental and social skills than those who live alone or in an assisted care facility.
Putting loved ones first
Such strong family values ensure that everyone in the family, young and old, is cared for and loved. Children check on their elderly parents, and grandchildren pay daily visits to their grandparents. Often, seniors live with their families until they die.
Living together or spending time together offers a healthy advantage for the entire family, especially the elderly. Seniors get immediate care when they need it. They are directly involved in their children’s and grandchildren’s lives. They often help with childcare and contribute to a smoothly functioning household. This gives elders a stronger sense of purpose and belonging – both essential ingredients for longevity. They love, and they are loved in return. All of this adds up to a healthier, happier family network that supports each other.
The trend seems to be moving in the opposite direction in America. Jam-packed schedules make it a challenge for busy families to spend time together. But you can beat the trend. Create time for you and your family to be together. Share a meal at least once a day, take a vacation together every year, and get active together. Go on walks or bike rides together. It’s not so much what you do; just do it together.
Q & A: Ask the Expert
Q: Many of our relatives live far away. How do I instill a sense of family connectedness when we are so scattered?
A: It’s not always easy to stay connected when family members are scattered. Fill in the gaps between visits with a weekly phone call. Exchange letters or e-mails often to stay in touch with one another. Video clips are a wonderful way for grandparents to keep up with their grandchildren’s everyday experiences and milestones. Send grandparents care packages with your kids’ drawings and schoolwork.
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