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Poor Health is Not an Inevitable Consequence of Aging

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We as a society should always strive to provide the older adults in our communities with dignified care and companionship to enrich life. The month of May is a time when many governmental and community organizations that serve older adults celebrate Older Americans Month.

This year’s theme Live today for a better tomorrow,reflects the Administration on Aging’s continued focus on prevention efforts and programs across the country aimed at helping older adults maintain their health in old age and avoid the risks of chronic disease, disability and injury. As we celebrate aging, we also recognize the need to raise awareness of the issues affecting older adults and create community-wide opportunities to help older Americans improve their quality of life. An overwhelming majority of older adults (over 85%) would prefer to be cared for at home rather than move to an aged care facility.

Although the risk of disease increases with age, poor health is not an inevitable consequence of aging. People of all ages, not just seniors, should be encouraged to pursue healthy habits and wellness measures to improve their quality of life. Recognizing that society, diet and exercise play an important role in well-being, older people should adopt care interventions that meet their needs.

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· Fellowship helps people stay engaged and mentally stimulated. Having someone to talk to is key to avoiding loneliness and reducing your risk of depression. As older adults become more isolated, they are more vulnerable to ill health, self-neglect, and safety hazards.

· A nutritious diet is essential to maintaining good health. As you age, meal prep can become a challenge due to a lack of energy or health conditions like arthritis. Also, due to sensory changes, particularly smell and taste, the most appetizing foods are not always the best for us.

· Exercise is also key to health and well-being. As they age, many older adults tend to lead a more sedentary lifestyle. While many seniors face functional limitations, involvement and encouragement can help them enjoy life and maintain a desired level of activity.

Knowing the value and benefits of companionship, diet and exercise, seniors should be encouraged to leave the home to enjoy the smells and sounds of our seasons. Meeting up with friends or family for lunch or even going to the grocery store can do wonders for a person. It is important to connect with community resources, pursue healthy behaviors, and seek support services that one may need to maximize independence and quality of life.

Thanks to Linda Prather

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