With so many advances in medicine and people adopting a healthier lifestyle, the senior population is growing by leaps and bounds. According to the Administration on Aging, persons 65+ represent 12.9 percent of the population (2009 Data) approximately 39.6 million) with estimates that by 2030, that number is expected to top 72 million people or 19 percent.
Yes — medical advances play a huge role in the increased number of seniors, but more importantly, an active and healthy lifestyle also plays a factor in people living longer. To be part of this growing segment, here are some healthy practices for the seniors in your life to adopt:
Stay Active. Staying active is probably the number one thing doctors recommend for their older patients. And, it is very true. Staying active not only is good for their hearts, it allows them to produce more endorphins which improves their moods not to mention helps them maintain a sharp memory. It can be a bit of a challenge to get your elder loved ones moving but one thing that seems to be evident – those that have been active most of their lives tend to stay active. Senior living communities typically offer exercise classes and fitness equipment to give residents the ability to be active. They also schedule regular trips to area malls so that seniors can walk the interior perimeter as part of a daily exercise regimen.
Keep Up with Blood Pressure Checks. This is so easy to do especially when waiting for your prescriptions to be filled or simply picking up some toiletries at CVS, Walgreens, Walmart or any other store that provides blood pressure checkers. Take a few minutes to sit down and get a free blood pressure check. You can take note of any upticks (or decrease for that matter) so you can alert their physician if it becomes a concern.
Exercise Mental Sharpness. There are so many ways to exercise mental sharpness especially when living in a senior living community. Bridge and other card games require players to think about their next move. At senior living communities, bridge groups and poker games are always taking place along with therapies to improve memory.
Prevent Rather Than Treat. You have heard the old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” To this point, a huge trend in healthcare is preventing rather than treating. Even though the older generation is somewhat past preventing health issues that may have already crept up on them, they can still prevent others from developing. The best prevention is by what we eat and how much we move. It is also imperative to take advantage of health screenings, free vaccinations for shingles, pneumonia and other illnesses and other tests that are offered. Additionally, colon cancer is more prevalent with seniors so this is an important screening on which to stay on top.
Maintain a Healthy Diet. Nutrition is so important. What we eat is at the root of a lot of health issues. Maintaining a healthy diet is a primary goal of independent and assisted living communities. Most enlist the expertise of trained chefs who work with registered dieticians and nutritionists to make sure the meals they prepare are healthy and provide residents with optimal nutritional benefits.
Interact with Others. It is a proven fact that enjoying the company of others is an excellent way to feel more upbeat, laugh and (dare we say it) have a good time. Independent living offers several ways to interact with others whether it is participating in planned activities, dining together, or simply sitting together in common areas.
Lessen Life’s Stresses. As your parents age, daily routines and responsibilities can become more stressful. One step to alleviating this stress is to consider moving from their homes to a senior living community. Handling monthly expenses like electricity and housing payments along with taking care of home maintenance may cause undue stress. To help them be healthier and happier, moving to a senior living community can alleviate these stresses and bring a renewed sense of enjoying life to them.
Healthy Equals Happy
A healthy lifestyle is a happy lifestyle. Even though seniors tend to be very set in their ways, adopting these healthy practices can help them work towards optimal health which translates into living much longer than they ever expected. And, they will truly live life to its fullest.