Taking care of your community is important to maintaining better health at all ages, but especially as we grow older. Did you know that it’s been proven that the more socially connected a community is, the better the health of older adults in that community tends to be? (Berkeley Study) What this means it that having access to communal areas, social opportunities, activities, green areas or paths, has been proven to promote better health overall.
Some ways to improve your health by taking care of your community, include:
One of Iora Primary Care’s doctors calls volunteering a “prescription for happiness”. By volunteering a few hours a month, you can reap the benefits of feeling good about yourself because of the help you’re providing to an organization, making a positive difference in another being’s life, and doing something good for the community your serve. In addition to these benefits, you could also connect with others and potentially build new relationships. Here are some types of organizations to research for volunteer opportunities in your community:
- Homeless shelters
- Animal shelters
- Food banks
- Places of Worship
#2 Advocating for green space or walking trails
Maybe you’ve heard of a proposal for a new park or bike path to be built in your community? Proposals like these are becoming more common in urban areas across the country. The reason is that these type of common spaces in neighborhoods promote healthier choices by encouraging community members to get off the couch and spend time outside. A great way to learn about initiatives like these is by attending a town hall meeting (typically held monthly – contact your local town hall or visit your city/town’s website to learn more)
#3 Nurturing a community (or personal!) garden
Did you know that many community gardens tend to donate food to local homeless shelters or food banks? That means that the food you’re helping to grow by volunteering at your local garden is feeding someone who may not be able to afford putting food on the table for themselves. Also, the act of growing your own food often leads people to think about where their food comes from and gets people thinking about healthy choices they can cook at home for themselves without breaking the bank.
For more information on the benefits of volunteering on your health please consult with your primary care doctor or your Iora Primary Care team.