Social connections are key

by Chrissy Jarvie, Communications Assistant

A long and happy life. It’s what we want for ourselves; our families, friends and neighbours, but what factors predict how long we’ll live?

In a *2017 TED Talk, Susan Pinker discussed a study led by Bringham Young University researcher Julianne Holt-Lunstad, into the factors that predict a long life.

The team looked at various lifestyle factors of their subjects including diet, exercise and smoking and drinking habits, and the results were intriguing.

The conclusion of the study found that the two strongest predictors of a long life were social: your close relationships and ‘social integration’.

Your close relationships may be your best friend(s), a spouse or a member of your family. It’s the person or people you can always count on and who will always be there for you in your time of need.

‘Social integration’ is defined in this study as “the people you interact with as you move through your day.” These could be your mail carrier, your waste collector, members of your jogging group or your server at a local café or restaurant.

As the Communications Assistant at Caledon Community Services, I see social factors alive and working every day, especially with CCS’ Transportation program.

Each ride, whether it’s to a doctor’s appointment, a mall or grocery store, the Senior’s Centre or the Exchange, is a chance for riders to make a connection and have a conversation with their driver and fellow riders. It’s a chance for someone to leave isolation and embrace their independence.

“I like the freedom; that I can go out,” said Karen Landry, CCS Assisted Living and Transportation client. “Otherwise I would be a shut-in.”

Freedom and a sense of belonging vs. isolation; for me it’s clear.

CCS Transportation is more than just a ride to a destination; it’s a social link that may just be contributing to a longer life. Just one part of what we do together at CCS every day that makes me smile.

Do you need a lift? Visit www.ccs4u.org to learn more about CCS Transportation or call 905-584-2300 ext. 217, 218, 221 or 264.

*Credit: TED Talk, Susan Pinker

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