SEPTEMBER IS HEALTHY AGING MONTH
Healthy aging is a way to help you discover ways to make the most of the positive aspects of aging. Individuals who are 50+ need to improve their physical, mental, social and financial fitness. The main idea of healthy aging is “it is never too late to improve the physical, mental, social and financial quality of life.”
BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE
Some physical activity is always better than none. Try to work up to at least 30 minutes per day. The risk of disease and lost mobility is greater and the positive effects are realized more quickly. Look for ways to exercise each day. Choose an exercise you will stick with. Use the buddy system; it’s harder to say no. Have a friend meet you. Walk, swim, dance, ride a bike, join and exercise class, or fish. Exercises such as yoga and tai chi are good for maintaining balance and flexibility. Do something to strengthen your muscles such as yard work, lifting weights.
A decline in memory is not always a function of serious disease. Sometimes memory loss is caused by factors that can be changed—such as diet, medication misuse, depression, etc. . . . At the National Institute on Aging, research shows thatmemory is like other parts of the body. Research indicates that the very gradual declines in memory take place until age 70—when the pace increases. Stay active doing things that use your memory such as take a class, play games, be with people. Pick up the phone and call someone just to “chat.” Volunteer your time. Find a hobby or learn to play a musical instrument. The greatest enemy to the healthy senior mind is depression.
Be generous with the most important thing you own—your time. Volunteer through groups such as the library or a schoolwere you can teach a youngster, meals on wheels, or at a local nursing home. Watch game shows such as Jeopardy! to keep your mind razor sharp. Laugh loud, laugh often. A good sense of humor is essential. Start you day off on a light note by reading the comic section of your local newspaper. Seek inspiration/keep the faith. Belief in a higher power. See the world/expand your mind. After a lifetime of raising children and working, older Americans love to travel—to see new things and experience new cultures.
Financial well being is important to healthy aging. Many who are retiring at age 60 or 65 may have another 20 to30 years to live. Many may live on a fixed income. It is very important to take a hard look at your finances and goals. Save at least 10% of your income. Invest in savings plans that compoundinterest. Set financial goals. Stick to a planned budget, sign up for a retirement plan.
©2007 St. James Catholic Church, Hopewell, VA