As we approach the holiday season, it’s important to take the time to remember the truly important things in life. Aging well is a blessing we all hope for. Successful aging is a lifelong ever evolving process. It’s a process that can begin at any time regardless of your age or health status.
Demands and expectations of what it means to age successfully are different now compared to past generations. This presents an interesting dichotomy between the old and the new way of thinking with the desire to live longer, stay active, and age in place. Living longer and healthier is definitely a blessing. When planned for, aging well is a blessing we all can experience.
We are all capable of successfully aging if we are intentional about the process. Successful aging has a different meaning for each of us, but commonalities exist in most scenarios. In order to live safely, independently, and comfortably, consider your physical, mental, and emotional health as well as your community and any financial implications.
To live a long and blessed life:
- Keep moving. Mobility is vital to independence. Independent mobility is different for everyone. It may be through ambulation or use of an assistive device such as a cane, walker or wheelchair. It’s important to maintain the ability to be independently mobile regardless of utilizing a mobility or assistive device. Aspects of maintaining mobility may include adequate balance, strength, and endurance.
- Maintain sharp mental health. It’s important to remain engaged and mentally sharp through constant and varied mental stimulation and maintaining adequate hearing to help you stay engaged with others. Proper nutrition and exercise have an impact on your mental health and also help to prevent depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.
- Share the love. Research clearly notes that those who are more loving and caring tend to live longer and healthier. Be generous with the knowledge and wisdom that you have acquired throughout the years.
- Be active in your community. Active engagement in your community is a critical part of successful aging. People find community in a variety of ways including family, friends, church, civic organizations or volunteer projects.
- Plan for a long life span. It’s likely that life spans will continue to increase if epidemics, such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome, are properly addressed. Be proactive in how you plan to manage your finances. When planning, assume that you will live well into your 90s. The fear for many will be running out of money during their elder years. The only way to avoid this issue is to be proactive and thoughtful in your planning. Seek competent financial advice. Be realistic about the math as you project into the future.
We all have the opportunity to be the most physically fit and active seniors in history. Over the next ten to twenty years, the paradigm of successful aging will be re-written. The old stereotype of aging will be lost in the dust of a new healthier, long lived population. Be proactive now by implementing these tips that can help you to live a long and blessed life. Take time now to enjoy your many blessings and those to come!
Written by: Ben Shatto
Editor’s Note:Ben Shatto, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, is a physical therapist and Administrator for Signature Healthcare – home of House Calls, Home Health, Palliative and Hospice Care as well as the founder and editor of the website www.thePhysicalTherapyAdvisor.com. His website is dedicated to help proactive adults of all ages to understand how to safely self-treat and manage common musculoskeletal, neurological, and mobility related conditions in a timely manner so they can reach their optimal health.
His practice specialty is orthopaedic care for active, aging adults. He earned a bachelor of science in health science with a minor in gerontology at Boise State University and a Master’s and then Doctor of Physical Therapy at Idaho State University