senior at a care facility

Retirees Find Physical, Emotional, and Mental Health in Florida

Florida is one of the leading destinations for retirees. Snowbirds flock during winter, but not a few retirees make their stay more permanent. Retirees from all over the US find their way to Florida, but they begin sharing a few traits once they spend a few years making themselves home. Florida seniors are healthier than most of their counterparts outside the state — not just physically but emotionally and mentally.

Excellent Healthcare Services

Seniors make up more than 20 percent of Florida’s population. More than 4 million seniors live in the state. Public institutions and private establishments make it a point to cater to them, and Florida healthcare services are probably the most senior-centric in the country.

It leads the country in research into treatments of senior ailments and conditions. Hospital and clinical staff have extensive training in dealing with senior problems and issues. With more than 300 hospitals and double the amount of clinics, emergency services are easily accessible, and there is no lack of hospital beds.

No Lack of Activities

Physical activity keeps seniors healthy, and you’ll never run out of things to do in Florida. Head to the sea for adventure and fishing. Go diving in Key Largo, Key West, or Marathon and get to see a multitude of fish and corals. If you would rather catch fish than view them, head to Daytona for largemouth bass, Sarasota for snappers and groupers, or Jacksonville for mackerel and kingfish.

If you’re new to angling, hire a boat with your buddies and go charter fishing in St. Petersburg. St. Pete’s is a good jump point for beginners. You have the option to stay inland or go off-shore for a wide variety of fish and challenges. You can even go for bigger fish like marlin, tuna, or even a shark or two.

If you prefer the greens to the sea, you’ll never run out of golf courses in Florida. With over 1,200 golf courses, you can spend every weekend going to a different course and not finish in 20 years. Seniors get preferential treatment at special rates during most parts of the year. Hikers and nature lovers can avail of lifetime passes to some of the finest parks in the nation for $80.

Stretching the legs through golf or walking keeps the heart strong, and Vitamin D from the sun fortifies the body’s natural immunity. Exposure to sunlight also increases serotonin production in the body, balancing the mood and alleviating depression. Low levels of serotonin are what cause winter blues — a phenomenon unheard of in Florida.

High Density of Seniors

Social interactions are essential for emotional and mental health. Hobnobbing with millennials might not be your thing. However, you won’t have problems finding seniors in Florida. Every shop, dining establishment, and bar caters to seniors for most of the year. Enjoy group activities like museum tours, book clubs, dance classes, or whatever activity you can think of.

With the vast number of seniors in Florida, you’ll never run out of cohorts or partners for any activity. Florida ranks high in culture. You can sample a variety of international cuisine in the hundreds of bars and restaurants in the state. Most establishments will have special rates for seniors, so don’t hesitate to take the gang out to dinner once or twice a week. Social interactions activate oxytocin in the body. Oxytocin produces feelings of belonging, safety, and contentment, giving it the moniker “the love hormone.”

Low Cases of Alzheimer’s

Florida ranks at the bottom when it comes to the prevalence of Alzheimer’s on a per capita basis. The low number of cases is attributed to the active lifestyle of seniors in terms of physical activity and social interactions. Several studies have linked physical activity — particularly power and balance exercises — to increased attention capacity, processing speed, and memory.

Exercise increases the body’s production of antioxidant enzymes and various growth factors that affect the neural system. It also increases blood flow to the brain, improving cerebrovascular reactivity and memory. Social interactions also figure prominently in preventing or delaying Alzheimer’s. Interacting with people stimulates the brain and wards off depression. Isolation and depression are two of the biggest factors that increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Florida might not have the fountain of youth, but it certainly has one on aging gracefully. Florida seniors live the best days of their lives and stay healthy for a good part of it.

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