September is Healthy Aging Month, an annual opportunity to raise awareness and focus national attention on the positive aspects of growing older. People are living longer and the number of older adults in the U.S. population is growing. As we age, our minds and bodies change and maintaining a healthy lifestyle may help you deal with those changes. A healthy lifestyle may also help prevent some common age-related health problems so you can enjoy the benefits of a long life.
Take Charge of Your Health
You and your loved ones can take a proactive approach to aging by adopting healthy habits and behaviors, managing existing health conditions, and staying connected to your social network, even virtually. Below are some tips that may contribute to the healthy aging of you and your loved ones:
- Play an active role in your health care. Remember that you know yourself best. Schedule regular checkups with your primary care physician, eye doctor, and dentist and point out any symptoms you are experiencing that may require medical attention. Know which medicines you are taking, why you need them, and how to take them properly.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Dietary needs may change as you age. A healthy eating plan includes nutritious foods that are low in cholesterol, fat, and artificial ingredients. You should also drink plenty of liquids (especially water) to remain hydrated.
- Stay physically active. Being physically active may help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid health problems. How much exercise you need depends on your age and health. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine what is right for you.
- Keep your mind active. Many activities can keep your mind active and improve your memory, such as learning new skills, reading, and playing games. Make your mental health a priority by practicing mediation and relaxation techniques.
- Participate in activities you enjoy. Doing things you enjoy may help you feel happier. Keeping up with your hobbies, trying something new, or and engaging in activities with friends (virtually or socially distant, if needed) may help lower your risk for some health problems. Try that new art project or type of exercise you have been thinking about.
If you have questions about safely implementing these healthy aging tips, please contact your healthcare provider.
Additional Healthy Aging Resources and Support
If you are concerned about yourself or the older adults in your life, reach out for assistance. Contact your local agency on aging or your Employee Assistance Program for resources, including referrals to state-specific programs that may help you manage elder care responsibilities. You can also view ComPsych’s recorded webinar, Talking About the Tough Subjects with Your Parent or Older Loved One.