Open Accessibility Menu

Celebrating Healthy Aging Month

Celebrating Healthy Aging Month

8 Ways to Celebrate Healthy Aging Month

September is Healthy Aging Month, making it a great time for seniors to take a step back and look at how they’re caring for themselves. From supporting your physical health to staying connected to your loved ones, here are eight ways you can boost your well-being in your golden years:

1. Get regular checkups and screenings.

As we age, it's important to keep up with regular checkups and health screenings. This helps us catch any potential problems early before they become serious.

Common screenings for aging adults include:

These screenings are important for seniors because they can help detect conditions early when they're more easily treatable. So if you're a senior or have an aging parent or grandparent, be sure to schedule these screenings on a regular basis.

For more information on health screenings for seniors, see the following pages:

2. Stay up to date on your vaccinations.

As we get older, our immune systems naturally begin to decline — making it essential to ensure that we are up-to-date on our vaccinations. Some vaccines are recommended for seniors, depending on their health and lifestyle.

Some of the vaccines that seniors should consider include:

  • COVID-19
  • Influenza
  • Pneumonia
  • Shingles
  • Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (Tdap)

These are just a few of the vaccines that seniors should consider. Talk to your doctor to find out which vaccines are right for you.

3. Eat healthy foods.

As we age, our bodies change and we may need to adjust our diets accordingly. Seniors need to be especially mindful of getting enough of certain nutrients in order to maintain their health.

Here are some key nutrients that are important as you grow older:

  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Fiber
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Antioxidants

Drinking Water

In addition to eating healthy foods, seniors should also make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water each day. Drinking water can help to flush out toxins, improve skin health, and support digestion. Seniors should aim to drink eight glasses of water per day.

4. Manage chronic conditions.

Chronic health conditions are a reality for many seniors. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 85% of adults aged 65 and older have at least one chronic health condition.

Some of the most common chronic health conditions that seniors face include high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. While these chronic conditions can be managed with regular doctor’s visits, medication, and healthy lifestyle choices, it’s important for seniors to be aware of the potential risks that come with them.

For example, seniors with high blood pressure are at risk for heart attacks and strokes, while those with arthritis are at risk for joint pain and stiffness. Managing these chronic conditions is vital for seniors in order to maintain their health and quality of life.

5. Quit smoking and avoid unhealthy substances.

Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death in seniors. It increases the risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. It also exacerbates other conditions like arthritis and diabetes. Quitting smoking is one of the best things seniors can do for their health. There are many resources available to help, including support groups and nicotine replacement therapies.

In addition to quitting smoking, seniors should also avoid other unhealthy substances like alcohol and drugs. These can interact dangerously with medications seniors are often taking. They can also lead to accidents and falls.

6. Maintain a regular exercise routine.

According to the National Institute on Aging, seniors should get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. The following types of activities are best for aging adults and seniors:

  • Get your heart pumping: Regular aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and overall cardiovascular system. This type of exercise can help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
  • Stay strong: By doing strength-training exercises, you can help offset muscle mass and bone density losses. Strength training also helps improve your balance, which can reduce your risk of falls.
  • Get flexible: Stretching and flexibility exercises help keep your muscles and joints healthy. These types of activities can also help reduce your risk of injuries.
  • 7. Take care of your mind.

Just like we exercise our bodies to stay healthy and strong, we need to do the same for our minds to help us stay sharp and prevent cognitive diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Today, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's every 65 seconds, and cases will likely decrease in the coming years. Here are some important figures to consider:

  • In 2010, an estimated 5.3 million Americans were living with Alzheimer's.
  • By 2050, that number is expected to jump to 16 million.
  • About 1 in 9 65 and older (10.7%) has Alzheimer's.
  • Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer's are women.

Mental Health & Cognitive Function

There are many ways to keep our brains healthy as we age that support our overall health — but it’s also important for seniors to focus on their emotional and mental health. Trying new activities and adding brain-boosting foods to your diet can help seniors support their mental health in the process.

Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals have been known to support brain health and lower the chances of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Some brain-healthy foods you may want to add to your menu include:

  • Fish (like salmon and tuna)
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Berries
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Dark chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Spices (such as turmeric and ginger)

Some stimulating activities that challenge your brain include:

  • Learning a new language
  • Trying out new recipes
  • Doing crossword puzzles
  • Playing strategy games

8. Stay social and connected.

It’s common for seniors to feel isolated from their friends and family as they age — with reduced mobility and changed living arrangements. However, it’s vital for your favorite senior to remain connected to those who care about them.

Staying Connected to Family

Even if you don't live close by, try to stay in touch with your grandkids and other family members. Regular communication will let them know that you care about them and are interested in their lives, whether through phone calls, text messages, or video chats.

Staying Connected to Your Community

Finding a support group or a group activity can help seniors stay social and feel connected to others around them. This may mean a book club, crafting group, or even volunteering for a nonprofit organization!

Using these tips, you can encourage your favorite aging adult to live their best life through their golden years — while remaining happy and healthy!