How We Bring the Blue Zones Lifestyle to Senior Living

Senior, setting out clothes, retirement living

In our recent blogs we delved into how the lifestyle traits of residents in Blue Zones® - five regions in the world where people seem to live the longest - can help you with healthy aging. So far, the emphasis has been on how you can incorporate these traits into your daily life at home. While that certainly can be achieved, you may find it’s easier to do so in senior living. Here’s how.

Backstory on the Blue Zones®

The Blue Zones concept originated from the demographic work of Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain in Sardinia, Italy, then was expanded on by researcher Dan Buettner and his colleagues as they identified other longevity hotspots around the world. The five Blue Zones around the world are:

  • Sardinia, Italy: Where Blue Zone research originated and it has the world’s greatest concentration of male centenarians.
  • The Greek Island of Ikaria: Has the lowest rate of middle-age mortality and the lowest rate of dementia.
  • Loma Linda, California: The only place in the United States to make the list is also home to a high concentration of Seventh Day Adventists who outlive other North Americans by an average of 10 years.
  • Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica: Has one of the lowest rates of middle-age mortality and the second-highest concentration of male centenarians.
  • Okinawa, Japan: Women over 70 here are the longest-living population anywhere in the world.

The common lifestyle traits among residents in the Blue Zones, which researchers believe help them to live healthier, happier and longer lives, are known as The Power 9®.

The Power 9® in Senior Living

Senior living communities like ours support healthy aging as well making it surprisingly easy to incorporate Blue Zones’ lifestyle traits into your daily life because everything you need to do so is right outside your door:

1) Move Naturally – Stay active and avoid being sedentary

  • Not only does our community feature a state-of-the-art fitness center and pool, but we also have a dedicated wellness calendar that offers water exercises, tai chi, chair yoga, walking groups, and other fitness classes.

2) Purpose – Have a reason to get up and out of bed every day

  • Senior living communities empower your purpose through clubs, classes, guest speakers, discussions on current events, volunteer opportunities, and more. Recent opportunities in our community have included Armchair Travel to Taiwan, Civil War Roundtable, Watercolor for Beginners, and an educational event on Senior Scams.

3) Downshift – Find a routine that helps you reduce stress

  • One of the biggest sources of stress for seniors is maintaining their homes. Senior living frees you from that burden with maintenance-free living and services such as housekeeping, laundry, and restaurant-style dining. Our residents also have peace of mind knowing that support is available when you need it through home care services to help you maintain independence, as well as award-winning therapy onsite, and a pharmacy that delivers.

4-6) Hara Hachi Bu, Plant Slant and Wine @ Five

  • From following the 80% rule to stop eating before you feel full to eating a primarily plant-based diet to drinking alcohol in moderation, we’re grouping these lifestyle traits together because our dining experience covers them all! Our Club Friendship Restaurant & Bar features healthy, well-balanced and delicious meals with delivery and takeout options. Also, our registered dietitian shares tips on healthy eating in our Nutrition 101 program.

7) Belong – Regularly participate in a faith-based community of some kind

  • Our community offers church services onsite, as well as weekly bible studies. Many people also connect spiritually through forms of meditation like yoga or tai chi, both of which we offer, as well as through spending time in nature in which our beautiful grounds provide plenty of opportunities.

8) Loved Ones First – Put family first in all decision-making.

  • We couldn’t agree with this more and believe you’ll feel a sense of family as soon as you step foot on campus because we consider our residents as extended family. It’s also why our community makes a point to involve the family in your experience here from participating in your plan of care to visiting to participating in activities to volunteering as much as possible.

9) Right Tribe – Find a circle of friends that share your commitment to a healthy lifestyle

  • This may be the easiest one as in our community you have a ready-made tribe of friends, neighbors and staff members right here. Not to mention a dedicated Lifestyle Director who plans all sorts of opportunities to connect through social events, activities and outings.

For more information on how we apply these practices in senior living, download our Guide to Living Better, or contact Friendship today to schedule a virtual or in-person tour by calling 540.777.7103

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Friendship North Campus

367 Hershberger Road, Roanoke, VA 24012

540.385.8720

Friendship South Campus

5647 Starkey Road, Roanoke, VA 24018

540.777.8300