A contemporary recipe for a healthy life!

The word “communities” is nostalgic for me. It reminds me of my grandparents’ time, when people knew each other, cared for each other and helped each other. People who are not related and perhaps not even real friends, but still live in the same village and thus feel connected. And when you feel connected, don’t let each other down. In times of need, you shop for each other, take care of each other’s children and make a bowl of soup.

When I look at my own environment, I don’t see communities like I used to see. I mainly see family, friends and like-minded people looking out for and helping each other. Or people who rely on professional help, such as social work. Do communities still exist?

naturally! Communities still exist, that’s what I read in the book “The World of Communities” by Flor Ziegler and Theon Gauthier. Everywhere in the Netherlands, whether in towns or small villages, there are resident groups committed to their neighbourhoods. The book is full of examples of residents organizing meetings, meeting places, and helping neighbors. In fact, according to the authors, new communities continue to emerge. So the societies are completely contemporary!

Hope for local governments

This provides hope for local governments, especially in the social sphere. Resident groups can play a role in providing public amenities, such as meal services, shopping services, or activities at the community center. Thus, communities provide added value to society.

However, I am convinced that neighborhood groups not only have added social value, but are also valuable to the participants themselves. The Positive Health Model (Positive Health Institute) is a great tool to provide insight into this. Within this model, six dimensions of health are distinguished: bodily functions, mental well-being, meaning, quality of life, engagement, and daily functioning.

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Positive effect

Communities have a positive impact on these dimensions. They are characterized by social cohesion. In an environment where people know each other and communicate, people feel seen and heard. There are no exclusion criteria such as origin, belief, health or educational level. Everyone can contribute according to their ability. This contributes to dimensions such as engagement and quality of life and also has a positive impact on mental health and meaning.

In addition, communities provide practical help and support, which improves daily functioning. Problems are noticed more quickly and people feel supported to take action. People who are part of a community and are already healthy are likely to experience greater health benefits, especially in the areas of engagement and meaning. Therefore, neighborhood groups have a positive effect on our health!

Without the government directing existing facilities, it was clear to my grandparents’ generation that it was good to help neighbors: “He who does good will receive good.” Let this also be a beautiful aphorism for the 21st century: let us invest in communities again. Because investing in communities is investing in the health of populations.

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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