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How Seniors in Florida Can Stay Socially Connected During the Holidays: Advice from Dr. Roger Landry | Community Spirit

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How Seniors in Florida Can Stay Socially Connected During the Holidays: Advice from Dr. Roger Landry
How Seniors in Florida Can Stay Socially Connected During the Holidays: Advice from Dr. Roger Landry

When I relocated to Florida in 2005, I became one of the more than 200,000-plus transplants who move to the Sunshine State each year. My first year here was awkward as I began making new social connections through work, by joining the gym, and by finding a spiritual center that resonated with me. Still, the first round of holidays was a tough one. After all, when you’re five-years-old you can easily walk up to another child and ask, “will you be my friend?” but past the age of eight, it’s not always that simple. With Florida consistently ranking number one in the nation as being home to largest population of adults age 65 and older, how can seniors stay socially connected with others during the holidays, particularly if they are retired and don’t have the advantage that I had meeting new people at work?

I spoke with Dr. Roger Landry, a preventive medicine physician, expert in the field of aging and author of the groundbreaking new book: Live Long, Die Short: A Guide to Authentic Health and Successful Aging. In his book, Live Long, Die Short, he mentions that we are “hardwired to be together.” That is to say – social connectedness is part of our genetic makeup and integral to leading a healthy and happy life well into our latter years.

“Long term research studies show less risk of cancer, heart disease and dementia in those who are socially connected,” Dr. Landry said. “This is easy when we are younger, with families and work. However, our social circles evolve as we age, many dropping out of our lives. It’s imperative that we seek out new opportunities to find common ground with others. Floridians who are transplants from other places are particularly at risk for isolation.”

To avoid isolation (which often leads to depression), Dr. Landry recommends that, as we do things we enjoy, remain attentive to others doing the same things and be open to connecting with them. Most likely, they are also seeking a stronger social network.

And what can part-time and retired Florida residents do to remain socially connected through the holidays, even when family members may live in other states? Dr. Landry offers three tips for older adults living in Florida that can easily be applied to people of all ages.

Three Tips for Staying Socially Connected During the Holidays

1) Get Outside and Get Moving – Physical activity reduces depression, and by getting out, you are more likely to encounter others who are nostalgic and looking to enjoy the holiday season with others.

2) Seek Out Holiday Events – Many local towns plan events to help its citizens celebrate the holidays together. In Your Neighborhood features a complete event calendar for Tampa Bay residents, separated county by county.

3) Volunteer – In this season of giving, there are many worse off than you, and by reaching out, you will once again feel the joy of the season and are more likely to meet others who are doing the same.

For More Information…

For the last decade, Dr. Landry has focused his efforts on older adults as a lecturer, researcher, consultant and author. He is also the president of Masterpiece Living, a multi-specialty group that empowers older adults to maximize their potential as they age. University Village in Tampa was the first Masterpiece Living Community. Currently, there are nearly 70 of these successful aging organizations throughout the United States. To read more about Dr. Landry, and to order a copy of Live Long, Die Short, visit www.livelongdieshort.com

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