The way to a healthy life is influenced as much by social causes and our environment as attention to diet and exercise. That’s not my opinion; it’s the view of Sir Michael Marmot, Professor and author of The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World. Sir Michael’s view is based on years of research which has shown that ‘living in supportive, cohesive social groups can be protective’ of both physical and mental health.
We know that loneliness is one of the biggest predictors of early death; as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day according to the Campaign to End Loneliness. Yet, despite this fact and research like Sir Michael’s, where is the Public Health funding to support any initiatives to reduce loneliness in our population? It’s pervasive in modern society, affecting people of all ages as Sue Bourne’s documentary The Age of Loneliness so eloquently portrays.
The idea of living together throughout our lives seems to have been lost in our country. We’ve grown up, moved away from our families and outsourced care to third parties. There’s a feeling of guilt towards our parents and grandparents, and a desire to make sure that we’ll never end up in a care home ourselves.
So we started on a journey to make sure we wouldn’t ever have to give up control of our lives, end up socially isolated or be warehoused in ever larger residential homes.
Evermore Wellbeing is all about living the life we’ve always led, in the company of likeminded individuals with a safety net to catch us if we need it. The sort of communal living that Joanna Lumley described in her article this weekend for the International Day of Older Persons (1 October).
We’re not building retirement villages. We’re designing cosmopolitan, urban lifestyle communities where people of all ages can share their lives. Many individuals in their 80s that I chat to think like their 25-year old selves. They have no desire to give up anything and find this “student living for older people” proposition very appealing.
And we’re proud to be bringing this proposition to life with our first apartment block of small households being built in Wigan. It’s within a short walk of all the life in the town centre, surrounded by residential streets, a school and other amenities It was fantastic to receive so much enthusiasm for the design of our building when we hosted an event for local residents last week.
This is about living in the heart of the community you know and love and continuing to be connected. A place where people can do it for themselves, exactly what Wigan Council’s The Deal is all about. We’re very proud to be part of this shared vision for a vibrant community in Wigan.
We started this journey at Evermore to eradicate social isolation and abolish institutional regimes in older but it looks like improving the nation’s health could be a great by-product of what we’re trying to achieve.
Evermore Wellbeing: a small company, with a BIG heart on a massive mission.