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Mather LifeWays Age Well Study: Year 2 Findings

At Ventana by Buckner, we strive to give Members the environment they need to thrive. This is proven through the Age Well Study, a project conducted by Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging in partnership with Northwestern University. The main purpose of this five-year study is to evaluate the impact of Life Plan Communities on the health of residents versus those in the community at large. Residents are asked to self-report health and wellness metrics throughout the course of the study, and results are being compared against a similar sample from the Health and Retirement Study conducted by the University of Michigan. For year two of the study, findings were based on the question, “What factors contribute to the health and well-being of Life Plan Community residents?” Researchers looked for relationships between resident characteristics, organizational characteristics, and healthy behaviors and health outcomes. Keep reading to learn about this year’s findings and how they can benefit your own health and wellbeing.

What Contributes to the Health of Residents in Community Living?

Study results are presented in six sections:

  1. Personality is often described by five core traits: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Participants who scored themselves higher in openness to experience and extroversion generally reported more healthy behaviors and better health outcomes, such as eating well and engaging in more physical activity.
  2. Physical and Psychological Resources. Physical and Psychological resources include optimism, perceived control over one’s life, purpose in life, perceptions of aging and resilience. Generally, all Stronger psychological resources were linked to increased healthy behaviors and better health outcomes.
  3. Social and Communal Factors. Social and communal factors explore connections with the surrounding community and a sense of connection to a higher power. Residents who form strong bonds within their community tend to engage in healthy behaviors more often and have better overall health.
  4. Organizational Factors. Organizational factors and features of Life Plan Communities may affect residents’ health. While the research shows there are few associations between these features and the residents’ healthy behaviors and outcomes, residents of communities with more amenities tend to be more physically active.
  5. Demographics and Other Personal Factors. Since demographics and other personal factors are not considered in other results, the study did recognize how demographics might impact engagement in healthy behaviors or other health outcomes. The main takeaways were that residents who are not in a relationship are more socially active, and older participants report eating healthier diets.
  1. Barriers to Physical Activity. Physical activity is consistently proven to have a positive effect on health, including reduced risk of health issues and increased cognitive ability. Six out of 10 residents indicated that they are sufficiently physically active. Among those who are not sufficiently active, the most commonly mentioned barrier to physical activity is health reasons.

[vtsc] Through these findings, life plan communities are better able to develop and personalize programs and resources offered to support resident wellness. A few proposed strategies discussed in the study include:

  • More physical fitness offerings that appeal to introverts, such as private coaching or expanded fitness center hours.
  • Programs that offer education on psychological and personal resources.
  • A combined fitness and education course that focuses on safety for older adults who exercise.
  • Stronger community bonds through resident meals and engaging even more resident participation in activities.
  • Wellness coaching programs to improve mental wellbeing,

Ventana by Buckner Puts Your Health and Wellbeing First

At Ventana by Buckner, you aren’t just choosing a high-rise, luxurious lifestyle – you’re choosing a new home you can love and be comfortable in and that offers you the ability to improve your wellness. Our Life Plan community offers the opportunity to live a maintenance-free lifestyle with all the amenities in a warm, spacious apartment ready to be personalized to your taste. Beyond the comfort of home, services and amenities offered include wellness programs for Members to enjoy that helps to improve their wellbeing. We’re already implementing the findings of these studies to our community activities and amenities. Programs include fitness classes in our state-of-the-art fitness center, non-denominational worship services and weekly community mixers, just to name a few. You’ll find it easy to call Ventana your new home where you can thrive and maintain your active, independent lifestyle. If you like what you see, give us a call! Contact us today to schedule an informational session with our team members.