According to the US Census, there were 47.8 million Americans age 65 and older on July 1, 2015. This group of people accounted for 14.9 percent of the total population of the United States. The number of Americans in that age group is expected to climb to 98.2 million in 2060. That’s nearly one in four US residents.
I’m one of the more than 76 million baby boomers currently over 50, and although I’m not the party girl I was in my 20s and 30s, I don’t think of myself as aging, either. Having an optimistic attitude about aging is a key message this September during Healthy Aging Month.
The celebration of Healthy Aging Month focuses on the positive aspects of growing older, instead of the stereotypes and negatives. Today, Americans are living longer and seeking healthier, more fulfilling golden years. This month is a great opportunity to consider ways to enrich your life as you age.
There are a plethora of senior resources on the Internet that include tips on topics such as taking medications safely, preventing falls, exercising and eating healthy. A good example is this National Institutes of Health (offline, read why here) web site. There are other resources that focus more on reinvesting in you as you get older.
Here are a few samples and some of their tips below:
- September is Healthy Aging® Month
- Ten Tips for Healthy Aging
- September is Healthy Aging Month: 7 Steps to Aging Healthy
Don’t act your age. Just because you’re in your 70s doesn’t mean you have to slow down. Think of yourself when you were younger. Remember what you liked to do then and go for it. Don’t get stuck by what you see in the mirror. Think positively!
Change your attitude. Be positive in your conversations, too. If you find yourself complaining, stop right there. Change the subject to a positive topic. If you have negative friends who insist on talking about how awful things are, find new friends.
Stand up straight. Mom was right all along. Stand with your shoulders back and chin up, holding your stomach flat. Standing up straight can make you look younger and slimmer around the waist. You’ll feel better once you get the hang of it, so practice!
Maintain your brain. Try something new to challenging your mind. Learn a new language or how to play a musical instrument. Maybe you’re an artist at heart with a portrait or a scenic landscape just waiting to be painted. Take a class at your local community college. You may fulfill a dream while keeping your brain active.
Make community connections. Being involved in your community makes you feel like you’re giving back and accomplishing something worthwhile. Join a civic committee or volunteer at a local organization. If that’s not for you, keep connected by having regular outings with friends or going to events at the local senior center.
Cultivate your relationships. This is key for everybody, but especially those who live alone. Stay in touch with your family and friends. Allocate time each week to spend with them: over coffee or drinks, a meal or a social activity. Be a friend, too. Reach out to others who live alone and may be lonely and depressed. You will be making priceless memories at the same time.
It’s important you take care of yourself physically as well. Follow your doctor’s advice on diet, exercise and routine health screenings. Get enough sleep and use a relaxation technique, such as deep breathing or yoga, to reduce stress in your life.
Try some of the tips listed here, and you’ll be on your way to Healthy Aging!