The Importance of Staying Involved

We all have heard from the experts about how friends, relationships, hobbies, volunteering, and involvements contribute in a huge way to our physical and mental health. These same things keep us happy, and yes, feeling younger.{{more}} We must have plans, a reason to get up each day, get dressed, and go out. By doing so, we not only experience the stimulation of others, but we also bring life and enthusiasm to those we come in contact with each day.

My husband and I are fortunate to be able to spend the winter months living in an Active Adult Community in Florida. It has often occurred to me how different this community is from what I have experienced during other periods of my life when it was not as necessary to live in a community setting. When one is studying, working, and raising a family it is not as critical to experience the type of community that I am talking about here. Of course it is good to be involved in you town, city, or school system where you live, but we don’t need that involvement for our physical and mental health. We are too busy with other things during this stage of our lives.

However, when we are older and retired, things are different. No matter what setting you live in, whether your own home, in an apartment, in a condominium, an assisted living facility, a continuing care community, or an active adult community, it is important to interact with other people as often and to the extent you are able. In some settings, activities and other people are easily accessible. In an active adult community people live in close proximity to each other and participating in activities is made convenient. There usually is a clubhouse where social activities take place. Our community also has a work-out room and tennis courts. An active adult community such as ours is unique in that most everyone who lives here is a “transplant” from somewhere else. Lifelong friends and family members have been left behind or live far away. Therefore, most everyone is interested in establishing new friendships. The list of activities is endless from tennis, mah jongg, bocce, water aerobics, bridge, poker, pinochle, tap dancing, line dancing, pottery classes, chess clubs, and knitting and sewing groups. Day trips, dancing, bingo, and holiday parties abound. Residents can choose the level of their involvement and the activities they want to participate in.

Fieldstone Village is a local example of an active adult community, although somewhat financially restrictive for some people.

Another option that has recently opened is First Place Condominiums in West Haven ( In this affordable, secure and newly constructed active adult community, residents have their own beautiful two-bedroom condo while living conveniently close to others in their age group. The possibility of activities can be endless in this situation. A community room waits for residents to come together for shared interests.

Even when living in your own private home, you have access to many of the same activities offered in active adult communities. Card playing, yoga, painting classes, trips, holiday parties, bingo, speakers, chess clubs, movie nights, and entertainment are offered at Senior Centers. Our town and the surrounding towns abound in cultural and entertainment events. Just take a look at Pat Miller’s column in this newspaper to see the many opportunities available to persons living in Orange.

So, you can create your own active adult community if you are not already living in one. Activities are everywhere for you to participate in. Most importantly, remember that staying involved is always good for your health!

Joanne Byrne served as Senior Services Coordinator for the Town of Orange. She is now actively and happily retired. Email her at to share what you are doing in retirement.