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The benefits of being politically aware and civic-minded at any age

It’s long been known that seniors are the most likely group to be engaged when it comes to the ballot box. By some accounts, seniors vote by more than twice the rate of those who are 18 to 24 years old and are the most likely to vote of all ages. But the reasons for that higher engagement may not be what one might first think. 

Psychology Today reports the results of a study that provides a few answers. For one, younger people are more likely to re-locate more frequently than older people. That means they are more likely to move and change addresses. In turn, they are less likely to re-register to vote, or they at least put off registering to vote. Older adults are likely to have lived longer in one place. It’s not just that they’re more civically active, they also don’t have to re-register to vote as frequently. 

Residents of Monarch Landing are very much politically aware and active. The longtime, resident-run Political and Community Awareness (PACA) committee holds programs almost weekly, drawing 50 to 90 attendees. During the recent Illinois primaries, many candidates visited Monarch Landing to share their views with a highly engaged audience. Programs were recorded and shown on in-house television to additional interested viewers. 

Voting and meeting with candidates aren’t the only ways seniors can stay aware of the issues, though. In a report shared by the National Library of Medicine, participation in policymaking—providing feedback on policies and helping to design them—had a positive effect on health and well-being. Participation is associated with lower risks of morbidities, disability, and cognitive decline. When adding in the social component of participation, political awareness may result in better physical and mental health, higher cognitive function, increased physical activity, and decreased loneliness. 

Another study found that civic participation and its correlation with group membership resulted in a greater sense of purpose and a higher likelihood of being physically active. HealthyPeople.gov shows how group membership results in emotional support for members and a sense of community that benefits health, too. 

There are many forms of civic participation, whether voting, volunteering, or joining a club. The reality is that staying politically aware and active throughout one’s life has meaningful benefits. And that’s very much the case for our active and civic-minded residents at Monarch Landing.