September is Health Aging® Month, dedicated the positive aspects of growing older. With an emphasis on encouraging older adults to improve their physical, mental, social and financial well-being, this month focuses the many ways that older adults can live their best lives. In our work with older adults, we have found that the following four areas are fundamental to healthy aging.
In 2019, the Surgeon General published a report finding that physical activity is a crucial component to healthy living. According to the Center for Disease Control, the report found that older adults can benefit from simple, daily exercise such as walking or gardening. Benefits from activity include increased physical health, lessening risk of anxiety and depression, and better cognitive function. For older adults who have some mobility or cognitive challenges, a family member or home care attendant can accompany and assist.
Isolation is a serious problem for older Americans. Research shows that isolation leads to a variety of mental health issues, including cognitive decline. Physical safety is also a concern, since older adults may slip and fall and be unable to call for help if they live alone. Regular social activity, visits from family or a caretaker, or transitioning to a community of older adults have important beneficial effects on the lives of older adults.
Proper diet, consistency in medication, good hygiene, and careful attention to risk issues like slippery bathroom floors can help an older adult maintain a healthy lifestyle. As people age, grocery shopping and cooking can become more difficult, and remembering to take medication can be a challenge for someone with some memory impairment. Family and community often can help an older adult with these tasks, as can a home healthcare attendant.
The impact of small issues can be magnified for an older adult. It’s important to be sure to get and stay ahead of issues by anticipating and addressing them. Regular checkups in a geriatric medical practice are critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It is also important to regularly reassess the home environment to determine whether changes need to be made for health and safety. SmithLife Homecare (SLHC) provides free, multi-point assessments of our clients to help them determine what changes should be made to help an older adult maintain a healthy, independent lifestyle.
Healthy aging should be a year-round concern, but it is a good idea to take time this month to think about whether you or a loved one could use some help or changes to get the most out of their life. At SmithLife Homecare, we encourage our clients and their families to work with us to identify services that can facilitate a healthy aging lifestyle. Contact us today to learn more.