How Living in a Community May Boost Your Health


Not too long ago, an important study took place in the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania. Researchers noticed a peculiar thing about this rural community–town residents were far less likely to experience heart disease when compared to the rest of America.

Across the board, people who lived in Roseto in the 1950s and 1960s were about half as likely to experience heart attacks, hypertension, and strokes.

What made this particular community so different? Was it diet, exercise, or better access to healthcare? Researchers set out to find out.

Roseto was not a wealthy community by any means. Most families were working-class Italian immigrants. For the most part, men worked in slate quarries and women worked in factories making blouses.

At first, University of Oklahoma researchers believed a Mediterranean diet or other lifestyle factors could explain this phenomenon. 

However, they soon observed that to be untrue. The people of Roseto feasted on pasta and sausage regularly. Town residents routinely drank wine and smoked unfiltered cigars. 

It defied medical logic.

Soon, the researchers’ observations uncovered something else. Roseto was a close-knit community. They loved each other and took every opportunity to engage with friends and family.

As one resident told the Chicago Tribune, “You go down the street, and everybody says, ‘Hello’…You feel like you’re the mayor.”


What can we learn from Roseto and other studies like it? 

“People are nourished by other people,” as one researcher wrote in “The Power of Clan.” Thriving communities are better predictors of healthy hearts than many lifestyle factors. 

Now, that doesn’t mean we should ditch our healthy habits and live with wild abandon. However, mounting research demonstrates the tangible benefits of living in a community.

How Communities Can Help Fight Stress

Researchers concluded that communities help prevent individuals from becoming overwhelmed by stress. When a person is surrounded by caring friends, neighbors, and relatives they are less likely to experience the negative health effects of stress and loneliness.

A wave, a quick hello, a lingering conversation–these daily interactions are significant to our health. The relationships we form with those around us have the potential to impact our physical and mental well-being.

The Benefits Behind Independent Living Communities

An independent living community can open the door to a whole host of benefits. You’ll find programs and services designed to give you the support you need to stay independent, as well as enrichment opportunities that allow you to connect with others.

Communities also make it easier to engage in volunteering, attend cultural events, take recreational day trips, and enjoy leisure activities.

Interested in learning more about Independent Senior Living? Download our guide: Should I Stay or Should I Go? for tips and tools you can use to compare your options.