Social engagement is shown to support mental activity
Hingham, MA -- We all know we have to exercise and eat a balanced diet to stay healthy, but one of the best things we can do for our minds and bodies is to spend time with friends. The idea that friendship is good for us isn't just anecdotal—it's actually backed by science. Research has shown that staying socially active plays a significant role in healthy aging. One study found that social engagement is closely related to maintaining a sharp mind. The opportunity to make new friends and have an active social life is one of the many things that draws Massachusetts retirees to Linden Ponds, an Erickson Living managed senior living community in Hingham. With over 1,300 residents and more than 100 clubs and committees, there's always something interesting to do at Linden Ponds—and plenty of other people to do it with.
"One of the greatest things about living in the community is that we can continue to encourage the people around us and to draw joy from them," says Jeff Watson, Erickson Living's director of operations. "In the average Erickson Living-managed senior living community, we have hundreds of peers to appreciate, dozens of groups to join, and multiple causes to fuel."
Making connections is easy at Linden Ponds
Marie Ruka and her husband Ed moved to Linden Ponds last September. They previously lived in a house in Dorchester, Mass., and after a big rainstorm flooded their roof and left them living in hotels for three months, they decided they were officially done with the hassles of home maintenance.
"We got together with our eight children and decided even when the repairs from the flood were done, we should not be at the house because there's always going to be repairs needed," Marie says.
Marie and Ed are both very out-going, so they quickly got involved in the social life at Linden Ponds. They take water exercise classes twice a week in the heated indoor pool and have regular card games with neighbors in the evenings. Marie says making friends has been easy because everyone at Linden Ponds is so warm and welcoming.
"Everybody we've met is wonderful," she says. "We have at least six couples that we meet for dinner every week."
Even throughout the pandemic, the sense of community stayed alive and well at Linden Ponds. Many resident clubs held meetings via Zoom, and the in-house TV station quickly pivoted to become a hub for information and entertainment. Marie says that she and Ed, along with their children, had peace of mind because they were living at Linden Ponds when COVID-19 hit the U.S.
"This is definitely the right place to be in a pandemic. We've been in our cocoon and well taken care of," Marie says. "Restrictions are starting to loosen up now, so we can go to the dining rooms for meals and play cards. It's so wonderful to see people again."
Resident-run clubs provide options
Molly Lynch St. John, community resources manager at Linden Ponds, says Marie and Ed's experience of quickly making friends is common at the community. While being the "new kid on the block" can be intimidating for anyone, Lynch St. John says the wide variety and sheer number of resident-run clubs at Linden Ponds makes it easy for everyone to find their niche.
"Resident group leaders are the best in the world at making a new resident feel welcome into the room," she says. "I have witnessed this firsthand when introducing someone into a new club after moving in—the open door and open arms feeling makes one feel and realize they are in the right place."
Photo: Ed and Marie Ruka have found it easy to make new friends at Linden Ponds; they have weekly dinner dates with six other couples.
About Linden Ponds: Linden Ponds, one of 20 continuing care communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 108-acre campus in Hingham, Massachusetts. The not-for-profit community of more than 1300 residents and 800 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Additional information about Linden Ponds can be found at LindenPonds.com.