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Healthy Aging Month: Promoting Healthy Aging for Seniors

Healthy Aging Month is an annual observance, dedicated to promoting healthy aging for seniors. The month of September was chosen for this observance because it is the month that marks the beginning of the fall season, a time when many seniors begin to think about their health and well-being.

The purpose of Healthy Aging Month is to raise awareness of the importance of healthy aging and to provide resources and information to help seniors live their best lives. The observance is also a time to celebrate the achievements of older adults and to recognize their contributions to society.

Importance of Healthy Aging

As the population of the United States continues to age, the importance of healthy aging is becoming increasingly clear. By 2030, it is estimated that there will be over 70 million adults over the age of 65 in the United States. This means that there will be a greater need for services and programs that support healthy aging.

There are many benefits to healthy aging. Seniors who are physically and mentally healthy are more likely to be independent and self-sufficient. They are also more likely to participate in social activities and to contribute to their communities. Healthy aging can also help to prevent chronic diseases and disabilities, which can lead to costly medical care.

How to Promote Healthy Aging

smiling senior couple

There are many things that can be done to promote healthy aging. Some of the most important include:

Eating a healthy diet.

A healthy diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. It is also important to limit unhealthy fats, sugar, and salt.

Getting regular exercise.

Exercise is essential for maintaining physical health and preventing chronic diseases. Adults over the age of 65 should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week.

Managing chronic conditions.

If you have a chronic condition, such as heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis, it is important to manage it effectively. This may involve taking medication, following a special diet, or getting regular exercise.

Staying socially active.

Social interaction is important for mental health and well-being. Stay connected with friends and family and participate in activities that you enjoy.

Getting enough sleep.

Adults over the age of 65 need 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

healthy foods spilling from grocery bag

Healthy Aging Month Resources

There are many resources available to help seniors live healthy lives. Some of these resources include:

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) provides information on a variety of topics related to healthy aging, including nutrition, exercise, and chronic diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also provides information on healthy aging. The CDC’s website includes a section on “Aging and Health” that provides information on a variety of topics, such as falls prevention, elder abuse, and dementia.

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a non-profit organization that provides a variety of services and resources to older adults. NCOA’s website includes a section on “Healthy Aging” that provides information on a variety of topics, such as staying active, managing chronic conditions, and financial planning.

Happy Healthy Aging Month

Healthy Aging Month is a time to focus on the importance of healthy aging and to provide resources and information to help seniors live longer, healthier lives. By following the tips outlined above, seniors can improve their overall health and well-being and enjoy a more fulfilling life.

Diverse group of five smiling older adults in workout clothes standing in a half circle in a park with their hands stacked in the center of the group

Tips for Healthy Aging

According to the National Institute on Aging, 61% of Americans aged 65 or older have multiple chronic conditions. Aging is an inevitable part of life. There’s no avoiding it, but there are things we can do to age in a healthy manner. In honor of Healthy Aging Month, we are sharing some tips for focusing on healthy aging.

What is healthy aging?

There are several components to consider when thinking about healthy aging. There is the obvious one: physical health. But it is also important to focus on others like mental health, social health, and even financial health.

Physical health

Exercise is one of the most important ways to care for your physical health. Scientific evidence suggests that people who exercise regularly not only live longer, but they also live better. Keeping your body moving by doing things like walking the dog or gardening can help you stay independent as you age. Practicing exercises that focus on your balance can help you to avoid falls, while stretching can improve flexibility which can help your body maintain the freedom to do everyday activities. 

Making smart nutrition choices is also important in helping maintain physical health. As we age, our bodies change, and thus so do our nutritional needs. AARP’s MyPlate for Older Adults breaks down exactly what a balanced nutrition plan looks like for older adults. It includes fruits and vegetables, healthy oils, herbs and spices, fluids, grains, dairy, and protein.

Regular health screenings are also important for maintaining physical health. There are many debates about how often an older adult should see their doctor, but it’s common to hear a recommendation of at least once per year.

Mental health

Another incredibly important part of our overall wellbeing – at any age – is mental health. When your mental health suffers, it can have a negative impact on your physical health, as well. Clinical psychologist Carla Manley, PhD says people with mental illnesses can experience a variety of physical symptoms, including muscle tension, headaches, insomnia, and feelings of restlessness. 

So how can we take care of our mental health as we age? One way would be to participate in activities that bring you joy. Research shows that having a hobby is linked to lower levels of depression and may even prevent depression. Some examples of hobbies that are good for our mental health are playing music, gardening, fishing, yoga, and writing. Puzzles like word searches, crossword puzzles, or sudoku are great hobbies that help to keep our mind sharp. 

Social health

Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to a higher risk of physical and mental conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, a weakened immune system, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. Engaging in meaningful activity with others gives us a sense of purpose which ultimately leads to a boosted mood and longer life. We can focus on several aspects of our health at once by taking our hobbies and making them a group activity. This could be in the form of a gardening or book club or simply taking a walk with a friend. 

Financial health

With most of the focus being on our physical health as we age, we can’t forget the importance of our financial health. This can be a little trickier to manage, and with all the information that is available online, it is tough to determine what is reliable. Senior Finance Advisor put together a list of reliable resources that help with investment advice and financial protection resources.

They also recommend finding a trusted fiduciary planner who can help you manage your money. The law requires them to always act in your best interest, and they tend to be more transparent in discussions of financial opportunities.

Healthy, happy living

Remember, what we do today impacts tomorrow. It may feel overwhelming to think about changing bad habits or creating new healthy ones, but it’s the key to living a longer, healthier, happier life. Start small and remain consistent and dedicated to your goals. It will pay off!

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