The month of September brings a welcome relief from the hot summer days. Cool breezes and colorful foliage appearing on the trees entice one to walk and bask in healthy fresh air.
September has also been designated as “Healthy Aging Month” with encouragement to seniors to renew their attitudes towards better eating, exercise, and mental stability. With the nation’s senior population growing there is more focus on programs to help seniors remain healthy and active as they age physically, mentally and emotionally.
WebMD‘s online magazine’s feature article by Matt McMillen focuses on the “September National Theme” with “tips to stay at your peak!”
1. Get moving
Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body and brain.
2. Stay social
Take a class, volunteer, play games, see old friends, and make new ones.
3. Bulk up
Eat beans and other high-fiber foods for digestive and heart health.
4. Add some spice
Add herbs and spices to your meals if medications dull your taste buds.
5. Stay balanced
Practice yoga or tai chi to improve agility and prevent falls.
6. Take a hike
Brisk daily walks this September can bolster both your heart and lungs.
7. Sleep well
Talk to a sleep specialist if you don’t sleep soundly through the night.
8. Beat the blues
If you’ve been down for a while, see a doctor. Depression can be treated.
9. Don’t forget
To aid your memory, make lists, follow routines, slow down, and organize
Opportunities for seniors to use their work experience and talents in volunteer work benefit not only them but their communities as well. Many seniors take educational courses to improve their minds and seek out opportunities to use this newfound knowledge in productive ways. In another direction, senior sport programs have been developed that encourage those who miss their days on the basketball court or playing other sports to take it up again. The National Senior Games Associations sponsors a competitive Senior Olympics.
There is no limit to what a healthy attitude can accomplish.
100-year-old Virginia, who suffers from glaucoma, received her first computer, an iPad. With the zoomable screen it is ideal for her to read books (she’s read 2 already) and write limericks (she’s composed 12).
An article this month on the Mayo Clinic website titled “Healthy Retirement” states that:
“Most adults spend years looking forward to a healthy retirement. Whether you’re still planning your retirement or you’re ready to make the change, there’s much you can do to ensure a healthy retirement.
Start by learning what to expect as you get older, from changes in muscle mass and sex drive to vision and cardiovascular health. After all, your dreams for a healthy retirement likely depend on good health. Then consider ways to maintain a healthy retirement, from reducing your risk of falls and staying safe behind the wheel to improving your memory.
Another important aspect of healthy retirement is long term care. Consider your options now — including type of long term care, as well as how to pay for it — to help prevent hasty decisions later.“
A new population of seniors and those nearing senior status are looking for some type of financial support to maintain their quality of life and pay for eldercare during their final years of life. The need for some form of long term care will happen to 3 out of every 5 people. Paying for this care can be devastating for those who are not prepared.
Planning for the final years of life by dovetailing government programs, with your assets and other funding sources is a vital, yet complicated necessity. The National Care Planning Council’s “Life Resource Planning System” relieves some of this burden by providing recommendations pertaining to any or all of the items below that may be important to your living out the rest of your life in dignity.
- Identify government income and care support programs
- Protect and preserve assets
- Facilitate favorable outcomes for health, medical issues and final preparations
- Maximize family and community support
- Find the right living arrangements
Healthy aging – physically, mentally and financially – is a definite “can do” with all the resources available to seniors and a little planning for the future.