Social Cohesion

Few holdouts will dispute the health benefits of quitting smoking. Among the upsides is its impact on decreasing the risk of stroke. My own father, when recovering from a stroke was quick to admit that the years of smoking might have played a part in his health issues. Ya think? This is old news. But what you may not know is the recent University of Michigan study suggesting that the effects of living in a close-knit community had the same impact on health as the act of quitting smoking--specifically on decreasing the incidence of stroke. Apparently, a high level of social cohesion correlated to fewer incidence of stroke in a survey of nearly 7,000 participants. People who ranked their neighborhoods high in things like "my neighbors can be trusted" and "there are lots of people in my neighborhood I could ask for help" were generally healthier.

So here's my question. What if the culture of your community was actually saving lives? What if people were living longer, healthier, more productive lives because of the kind of community they experienced on your property? If you believed that were possible, would you be interested in providing an environment where residents knew each other, depended on each other and met each other's needs?

Of course, there are no guarantees--the science of human emotions is a complex beast. But even on the off chance that human connection might be healthier than apathy and isolation, I think I'd give it a shot.


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