Senior Living: September is perfect month to review healthy aging tips

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By BETH DOW, Solutions by Beth

Over 20 years ago, September was designated Healthy Aging® Month.

It was introduced when the baby boomers were about to turn 50 by Carolyn Worthington, the publisher of Healthy Aging magazine.  It was a time when “no one wanted to talk about growing older,” Worthington explains. “Today as the boomers turn 60 and 65, it’s a different story.” 

The focus of September’s Healthy Aging Month is to inspire older adults to improve their overall health and well-being. Healthy aging is more than physical wellness; it involves being healthy physically, mentally, socially, and financially.

September is the perfect time to take stock of your life. Are you where you thought you would be at this age?  COVID-19 threw us all a curve ball.   If you got off track, what do you need to do to jumpstart and get back on track?  Is there a new sport or civic club that you are interested in checking out? Take advantage of Healthy Aging Month to really look at where you are and begin to plan accordingly.

So, what are some tips for to get started?

• Get back in church.  For many people, church not only fills their spiritual needs, but it also fills their social needs. COVID put us on our couches on Sunday morning.  And while it was great “going to church” in our pajamas with a cup of coffee, we missed out of the social aspect of community.  Get off the couch, get dressed and go back to church.  

• Get back to any other social, civic or support group that went “virtual” or completely stopped, when COVID hit.  Many folks relied on their support groups to help them feel not so alone, in what they were going through.  For those of you in LaGrange and Newnan, we have started our support/resource groups back and in person.   If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment, Dementia or Alzheimer’s and would like information on one of these groups, contact me at [email protected]

• Talk to your financial advisor, banker and / or elder law attorney.  Do you have everything in order?  Does your family know where your important documents are?  Do you?  Take this time to take a really good look at your legal and financial health.  

• Start an exercise routine.  I know you get tired of hearing this, but exercise is the key to a healthy, long life.  Exercise is good for the heart, the brain and good for our emotional health.  Take a walk, take a class, take up pickleball! Just move!

• Exercise your mind.  Learn something new.  Put together a zigsaw puzzle. Go to informational talks and workshops.  Learn to play poker.  Find something that interests you and dive in.  

• Do something for someone else.  Schools are back in session.  Is there a school where you can volunteer?  How about volunteering at the senior center or Meals On Wheels?  It feels good when you know you’ve made a difference in someone else’s life.  

It is never too late to get proactive about aging. This September, make it a priority to plan and take steps toward creating and maintaining a healthy, active, thriving, albeit aging lifestyle! 

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Beth Dow is a Dementia and Alzheimer’s Educator, CAEd and Geriatric Care Manager. Readers can contact her at [email protected].

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