Maximizing Longevity and Successful Aging: Insights from Yale School of Medicine

June 18, 2024

1 ScherzerC_Website_01_ (1)-1The Yale School of Medicine is researching and implementing health strategies aimed at maximizing both the quality and quantity of human longevity.

How important is your functional independence? For most older adults, the ability to comfortably and freely go about their daily lives is a cherished value. The Yale School of Medicine recognizes this and has heavily invested in researching and implementing health strategies aimed at maximizing both the quality and quantity of human longevity. The overarching theme of these scientific discoveries is that physical activity is the best form of medicine, and the active lifestyle at Moorings Park Communities aligns with Yale’s principles, observations, and findings.

Physical Activity: The Best Form of Medicine

Did you know that serious injuries occur in 10% of falls, and after a fall, 25-40% of older adults reduce their physical and social activity? The frequency and morbidity of fall injuries are staggeringly high. However, Dr. Thomas M. Gill, Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Investigative Medicine at Yale University, provides hope through prevention. Focusing on researching and preventing the cause rather than treating the symptoms can not only significantly improve the quality of life for many individuals, but it can also save America over four trillion dollars annually.

Dr. Gill emphasizes that the development of chronic diseases, functional decline, and loss of independence are not inevitable consequences of aging. The study of individual and population health strategies, known as preventive gerontology, has shown that the onset of major mobility disabilities, falls, and injuries can be prevented with physical activity and intervention. 

The LIFE Study (Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders) demonstrated that a structured, moderate intensity physical activity program, compared with a health education program, decreases the onset of major mobility disabilities. Walking or aerobics were key components. Similarly, the STRIDE Study (Strategies To Reduce Injuries and Develop Confidence in Elders) showed that a multifactorial intervention modestly reduces the likelihood of falls and fall injuries. 

Yale researchers, like Dr. Gill, aim to increase health span by understanding biological mechanisms and improving prevention strategies like diet and exercise. Physical activity not only improves strength and balance, but also boosts mood, self-esteem, and sleep, crucial aspects of mental health that impact functional independence. 

Social Connection: A Cornerstone to Good Health

“Social connectedness is really important to your health, and remaining socially connected can actually improve outcomes after serious or critical illness,” said Dr. Lauren E. Ferrante, Pulmonary and Critical Care Specialist at Yale New Haven Hospital. 

Dr. Ferrante’s work focuses on improving functional outcomes and maintaining independence for older adults during and after time in the hospital and demonstrates that increasing range of motion and fitness, along with other preventative measures, are crucial to preserving independence during and after an intensive care unit (ICU) stay. Impairments in physical fitness, cognitive function, and mental health are more likely to occur in the ICU and can lead to socioeconomic disadvantages and social isolation, according to Dr. Ferrante’s research.

“Social isolation is an objective lack of social connections to your family, friends, and community. [Concerning isolation], we look at key indicator areas: for example, does the older adult have someone to talk about important things with, do they visit with family or friends, and do they participate in clubs,” said Dr. Ferrante. “We evaluate these and the association with function after older adults had been in the ICU, and what we found was that greater social isolation is associated with an increased burden of disability, or functional dependence, and an increased risk of [mortality] in the year after hospitalization.”

Successful Aging: Prevention Takes Precedent

Dr. Ferrante and Dr. Gill’s work shows that physical health, mental health, and functional independence are interconnected. Physical exercise not only keeps the body fit but is also proven to increase self-esteem and encourage social engagement, which leads to greater functional independence and a happier, more fulfilling life.

“I have heard about some of the great clubs here [at Moorings Park Communities],” said Dr. Ferrante, which is not surprising considering how many social opportunities each community hosts in addition to many other wellness opportunities. A wellness-first lifestyle is seamlessly integrated across everything Moorings Park Communities offers to its residents. From a wide array of socially stimulating activities, life-enriching programs, and educational seminars to physical, cognitive, and mental health-boosting opportunities in the state-of-the-art Center for Healthy Living, Moorings Park Communities is designed around a successful aging initiative that aims to change the way America ages.

This initiative has created the need for a new position. Therefore, Moorings Park Communities is happy to announce that Jessica Brinkert has been promoted to the Executive of Successful Aging, a position that aims to guide the current needs and long-term strategies revolving around successful aging across each community. Jessica started as an intern in 2009 and has held various titles since then, including Director of Campus Life and Associate Executive Director. She has a Master of Public Administration from Florida Gulf Coast University, a Graduate Certificate in Geriatric Care Management from the University of Florida (UF) and is currently pursuing her Master of Business Administration at UF. 

“Successful aging isn’t just about longevity; it’s about making those years as healthy and fulfilling as possible. I’m overjoyed at the opportunity to enhance the offerings available to enable our residents to successfully age,” said Jessica. 

To some retirees, aging successfully means lifelong learning, giving back, and social connectedness, while to others it may mean staying fit and healthy, spiritual growth, and investing in new hobbies. At Moorings Park Communities, all of these aspects of wellness are integrated, encouraged, and supported at every level across the community, and while higher levels of care are available, prevention and proactive approaches to care always take precedent. This aligns with the principles, observations, and findings from the Yale School of Medicine and confirms that Moorings Park Communities at the forefront of innovation when it comes to manifesting these health strategies in support of residents’ well-being.  

The Number One Wellness-Based Community

There is an art and science to maintaining independence as we age. It is demonstrated across the studies coming out of the Yale School of Medicine, but also through the lifestyle Moorings Park Communities has curated for residents. 

Recognized as the number one wellness-based community in North America by the International Council on Active Aging, Moorings Park Communities promotes a revolutionary approach to healthcare through concierge physicians and personalized healthcare that prioritizes proactive care. When your physician, fitness instructors, and dieticians are all under the same roof, a holistic, prevention-focused wellness plan can be implemented and practiced across everything offered at each Naples-based community: Moorings Park, Moorings Park at Grey Oaks, and Moorings Park Grande Lake. 

To learn more about, go to, visit the Moorings Park Communities Facebook page, or call 239-451-5509.

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