Good neighbourhood, good life

Good neighbourhood, good life.

Photo: Good neighbourhood, good life.

A study of seniors aged 55 years and over has revealed the type of neighbourhood you live in can effect general health and quality of life.

The National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre last Thursday (19 July 2012) released a report titled Neighbourhood Characteristics: Shaping the Wellbeing of Older Australians.

The report shows a direct link between varying neighbourhood characteristics such as social cohesion (trust and belonging) and disorder (presence of vandalism or graffiti), and how this impacts on ageing well.

It found good general health was linked to a sense of belonging where people felt “more a part of their area”, and trust and helpfulness of people in the neighbourhood.

Better general health was also associated with a sense of neighbourhood order and feeling it was safe for people to walk in their neighbourhood after dark.

Neighbourhood belonging was also linked to lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress. Greater neighbourhood cohesion was associated with larger social networks and lower levels of loneliness.

National Seniors Australia chief executive, Michael O’Neill, said the study supported a growing body of research providing evidence that where we live can impact on a person’s happiness and overall health.

“Recognition is growing regarding the importance of the neighbourhood environment we live in and how it can shape our health, independence and happiness into later life,” he said.

“With Australia’s ageing population, it is vital policy makers understand the factors that enhance the quality of older adults to retain independence and wellbeing as they age.”

A full copy of the report can be found at www.productiveageing.com.au