We keep hearing our population is aging, and that’s certainly the case in Williamsburg. The Williamsburg Health Foundation concluded in its 2022 study, “Older Adults: Where We Are and Where We’re Going,” that the Greater Williamsburg area (GWA) grew in individuals 60 and older by 22.5% in an eight-year span. The average growth rate in Virginia: 17.5%
What do our more experienced and wiser friends need to be healthy and happy in the historic region? According to the study, possibly care for:
• Hypertension (estimated that 62% of the GWA faces the condition)
• Arthritis (52%)
• High cholesterol (52%)
Also of concern, many residents are estimated to:
• Be overweight or obese (67.8%)
• Be physically inactive (31.8%)
• Feel lonely (more than 20% in the area live alone)
Each condition and concern is alarming, especially loneliness. The study notes loneliness increases a person’s risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
Socialization can be the antidote to the devastating power of loneliness, the report says. Common sense says employment, whether part or full time, could be one of the ways to obtain the needed human interaction.
GWA businesses might take note: Some businesses, facing staff shortages since the pandemic, have already intensified senior recruiting efforts. Such a move can help an organization in unexpected ways. Morale, work ethic and productivity will most likely grow, asserts Yale University professor Becca Levy. In an interview with Kiplinger.com about her May 2022 book, Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long and Well You Live, she noted that research has found that older workers:
• Take fewer days off for sickness compared to other age groups
• Have strong work ethics
• Show a strong sense of job dedication, which positively affects younger workers’ commitment
• Find faster and better ways to accomplish tasks
• Are more creative compared to their younger self
• Strive to leave a legacy that helps people
The bottom line for business owners could be: Hire seniors, improve their health and build your wealth.