Weatherford Democrat

January 12, 2014

EXTENSION NEWS: Aging successfully


Weatherford Democrat

— By KATHY SMITH



Everyday we learn about more and more people who are living a long healthy life through their 80s and 90s and many who actually live to be 100 years or older. As people continue to live longer, we must think about how well and how successfully they are aging.

Here are some tips to help you age as successfully as our older friends and increase the quality and quantity of life.



Stay active

Remain physically active for as long as possible. Poor health is not a result of aging and being healthy is not just the absence of disease. A chronic illness may be considered unhealthy, but if managed properly the person suffering from the illness may be able to lead a normal, healthy life.  It was reported on the television this last week about a woman who turned 112, who is a breast cancer survivor and continues to be in good health.

A healthy lifestyle may have a positive impact on anyone at any age. Proper diet, exercise and preventive health care are three primary means to maintaining your physical health.



Maintain mental health

Successful aging can also be linked to a person’s mental health. Just as physical health is not a consequence of aging, mental health is not a consequence either. Many attribute an altered mental state to someone’s age rather than recognizing symptoms of a disease and seeking treatment for it. Something as simple as a pair of glasses that have the wrong prescription can cause a person to be disorientated and may be confused with dementia.

One should keep the mind healthy through stimulating activities such as reading, word games, or even talking with friends and neighbors about current events. Getting plenty of sleep in addition to physical and mental activities is important as well. Plenty of sleep helps to nurture the mind and body.



Spiritual well-being

Emotional and spiritual well-being are key components to healthy aging. Social interaction is an important part of emotional health.  To age well, we need to give and receive love. Volunteering on a regular basis, being with a group of friends regularly, and or staying involved in your community through organizations and/or through church give one a since of meaning and purpose. This gives one a reason to get out of bed every morning and to stay physically and mentally healthy.

An excellent way to stay mentally healthy as well as emotionally healthy is to participate in educational opportunities in the community. Many different types of classes are offered through local schools and organizations that are affordable and can provide different opportunities to learn.

For more information regarding aging, visit the National Institute on Aging's “Age Page” at www.nia.nih.gov/data/publist.asp.