By Mark Kalina, M.D.
Member, Del Mar Community Connections board
While the medical world focuses on the known risk factors for disease (poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, smoking), there exists an arguably more important predictor of health outcome and ongoing satisfaction with life. Perceived social support is the hidden factor that is often overlooked.
It may not seem important when we are young, healthy and strong, but social connection is absolutely critical as we age or during times of illness or disability. Having someone to call or depend on can make all the difference when we are not well. This explains the health advantages of being married. It further explains the benefits of being a member of a church or temple or other religious affiliation. It is not only during illness that we benefit from our network. The ongoing practice of healthy behaviors and a generally healthy lifestyle is facilitated by being around others with similar goals. We all are more regular in our healthy routines with the support of our training partners and an exercise community.
The world has grown immensely in the last 200 years — from less than
1 billion people 200 years ago to our current 7 billion people with the largest rate of growth occurring since 1960. Couple this with the amazing improvements in our abilities to move around the globe with the incredible advances in transportation, the world has become infinitely more accessible. Add then, the amazing advances in communication with the invention first of the telephone in 1865, the cell phone in 1973 and now the Internet. The rate of connection has also infinitely expanded since the development of social networking via the Internet with Facebook, MySpace and Match.com. We as a species have the opportunity to connect like no others have been able to do in the history of the world. Ours is truly a magical world.
Despite this capacity, way too many among us live separate and isolated. Particularly at risk are the elderly and the infirm. Fortunately, we have the ability to rectify this situation. Here in our beautiful little beach town, Del Mar Community Connections is an intimate part of our community helping to keep this at-risk population connected, active and happy. This organization provides a wide variety of services and opportunities for willing participants to engage in. Exercise, lunches, learning, fun, field trips and transportation support are continually available for those interested in expanding their horizons. Combine this support with Del Mar's natural beauty, and one can harness the amazing power of connection all throughout the life span. That is the goal: living life fully connected and free to pursue our dreams all the way to the end of this magnificent life.
For more information, go the DMCC website at
or call Heather at (858) 792-7565.