Longevity: Building Community

Read an excerpt from Dr. Robert Butler's new book The Longevity Prescription, discussing how investing in your community is key for a long and healthy life. Dr. Butler has been called "The Father of Geriatrics" and is the founder of the National Institute on Aging (a part of the NIH) and the International Longevity Center at Columbia University. Click here to purchase your copy.

Posted on | By Dr. Robert Butler | Comments ()

Invest in Social Capital
One of the best strategies to a long and healthy life is connectivity. Numerous studies have led to wide-ranging conclusions about the importance of social relationships to individual good health. Having caring people around you--or even just making meaning from contact with them by phone, via the Internet, or other means--amounts to a special kind of health insurance. So, a surefire way to longevity is greater interactivity in a social sense. We humans are social creatures: interdependent, adaptable, and flexible. As a species, we have evolved in a world in which we must rely upon one another and, as individuals, the more we can contribute to bettering that world, the better it will be.

 

Two questions:

  1. Have you made a difference in people's lives?
  2. Can you think of a way of doing so?

If you are thinking about making a life change, and becoming more active in your community.  Here's some advice:

  • Find the time. This is twofold: First, you must do the homework; second, you need to find the time in life to invest.
  • Make a list, then make the calls or send the e-mails. Making contact is essential: Talk to people, explain your interest, offer your services. Use any contacts you have--friends, family, coworkers--to gather intelligence.
  • Build your own--and your community's--social capital. If your community isn't accessible, you can make it more so. Are there walking paths, gyms open to the public, bike paths, or mall-walking If there are none, you can help initiate them along with your friends or the larger community. But, finally, the motivation has to start with you as an individual.

Article written by Dr. Robert Butler
Dr. Butler has been called "The Father of Geriatrics" and is the founder of the National Institute on Aging (a part of the NIH)...