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More than just fun and games

Social ties contribute to overall well-being

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July 21st, 2014
residents sitting at a table playing a game
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By day, the Hillcrest Clubhouse at Springs is abuzz with activity. 

The community’s more than 100 clubs and activities ensure a steady stream of residents moving to and fro. Throw in another 100 staff members going about their daily work, and the clubhouse becomes a place of constant action.

But at night, when the workday is over, the Hillcrest Clubhouse transforms into an extra-large family room, a place for residents to linger after dinner.

“This is where we come to play,” says Doris Newton, who moved to Highland Springs shortly after it opened in 2006. “It’s the most social time of the day.”

Place of opportunity

Doris lived 11 miles from Highland Springs and watched with interest as the community was built.

“My husband and I moved into our Dallas home in 1965,” says Doris. “We raised our five boys in that house, but the neighborhood changed over time. My husband passed away. Most of our neighbors had moved away. I didn’t have the same social interactions I enjoyed in the past.”

When Doris’s son and daughter-in-law offered to buy her house, Doris realized it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. 

“I knew Highland Springs afforded many opportunities, both socially and physically,” says Doris. “The on-site swimming pool and fitness center ensured I could stay active without driving to a gym. And the prospects for social involvement at Highland Springs were almost too many to count.”

Now that she’s enjoyed the Erickson Living lifestyle for eight years, Doris says there’s no place she’d rather be.

“I’ve lost 20 pounds since I moved to Highland Springs,” she says. “I’m a lot healthier than I would be if I had stayed in my home. I exercise regularly and play games with friends. I think my brain is sharper because I’m active and engaged.”

Scientific backing

Doris’s experience has scientific backing. A study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior found that people who stay connected to other people through a variety of social activities have a slower progression of health decline.

Study participants were asked about their social activities, including visiting with friends and family, attending programs or club meetings, and volunteer work. The study found that even older adults who weren’t socially active when they were younger could reduce physical and cognitive issues by increasing social activity later in life.

Social activities abound at Highland Springs, particularly for those with a penchant for games. Mexican train, hand and foot, canasta, forty-two, bridge, and poker are among the nightly offerings.

Always something to do

Dorothy Gray, a retired Plano school teacher, moved to Highland Springs in November 2006. She says the social calendar is among the community’s greatest assets.

“If I was still in my home, there would be days when I didn’t see anybody,” says Dorothy. “Now that I live at Highland Springs, there’s no end to the activities offered here.”

Dorothy teaches a water aerobics class three times a week in the community’s indoor swimming pool. She introduced Quiddler, which she describes as an easy form of Scrabble, to her game-playing friends.

“Anybody is welcome to join us when we play games in the evening,” she says. “The residents here can be as involved as they want to be.”

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