Anne Marie Moro,
“Count your age by friends, not years.
Count your life by smiles, not tears.”
— John Lennon
We might live in the ‘Age of Connectivity’, but surveys tell us that we may be far lonelier than we imagined. As services such as banking and grocery shopping move online, people are losing convenient opportunities to connect with one another. Statistics Canada reports that 1.4 million seniors say they’re lonely. And it’s not only the elderly. Social isolation can impact anyone at any point during the course of their lives. Young people are experiencing epidemic levels of loneliness. The impact is not inconsequential. We humans are meant to be social, and if we do not get enough human contact, the joy and the quality of our lives diminishes.
Encouragingly, everyone, and especially seniors, can benefit when we live, work and play in a great community. What makes a community great?
1. Supportive Community
Isolation isn’t just a matter of how often you socialize. It’s about knowing there are people in your local area you can call on for company, help or professional advice. It’s about having mutually-rewarding relationships with your neighbours—of all ages—and feeling like you belong.
2. Easy Access to Places and Spaces
More developers today are incorporating outdoor meeting places, access to nature and exceptional amenities into neighbourhoods to make living in cities less alienating. Age-friendly infrastructures, such as safe and accessible sidewalks, not only allow older adults to age in place and stay close to strong community ties, but these same amenities accommodate young children and those with mobility challenges, too.
3. Community Connections
Getting involved in your community is beneficial at any age. It’s a way to give purpose and meaning to each day while you build new friendships. Find out what’s happening locally in our ‘Community Events’ pages every month and participate in those that interest you. Participating helps to build a stronger and healthier community for more people.
Note: Victoria’s Vital Signs is an annual community check-up that measures the vitality of our region, identifies concerns, and supports action on issues that are critical to our quality of life. The Victoria Foundation produces the report to connect philanthropy to community needs and opportunities. I encourage you to take the survey
And finally, if it’s true that every person is ‘defined by the communities he/she belongs to’, then the people and organizations profiled in our magazine this month are exemplary in the way each is contributing to the overall quality of life we enjoy here in the West Shore