By Alan Wu, Bay Alarm Medical
Three Simple Ways to Improve Your Wellbeing for Healthy Aging Month
September is Healthy Aging Month, the perfect time to reflect on how seniors can optimize their physical, mental and social health as they grow older. Seniors are more vulnerable to age-related ailments such as high cholesterol and heart disease thus it’s important for them to take care of their physical, mental, and social health as they grow older. They should celebrate life by investing the time and energy now to make small changes that will lead to a more enjoyable future.
Training for the Brain
Stimulating the mind with regular activities is a good way to prevent forgetfulness and keep mental sharpness. A national study of 3,000 older adults found that after five years, those who did brain training programs improved in cognitive speed, memory and reasoning. This helped with everyday tasks including navigating public transportation, maintaining the house, and using the phone. Free apps with mind-stimulating games are easily accessible on iPads, tablets, or smartphones, and are specifically designed to train memory and attention. And traditional challenges like Card games and puzzles are great ways to boost thinking and keeping the mind active while connecting with friends and family.
Making and Maintaining Friendships
Having close relationships and staying socially active is essential to maintaining a high quality of life. While it’s sometimes difficult to get together with loved ones who live far away or have school and work commitments, technology allows people to connect instantly through text, voice, photos and video. To combat loneliness and social isolation, arrange regular Skype or phone calls with family members, have a strong relationship with neighbors, and find a weekly or monthly club to do an activity with a friend to continue expanding social network and retain existing ones. Such social interaction in older adults has been shown in studies that it can result in health benefits such as boosting the immune system, lower rates of physical and cognitive decline, lower blood pressure, reduce risk of depression, cardiovascular problems, some cancers, rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Finding the Right Exercise
Exercise doesn’t have to mean running a marathon or lifting heavy weights. In fact, over- exerting energy may cause additional health problems. Older adults can try water aerobics, light weight training or yoga for fun alternatives to toning and relaxing the muscles all the while getting the activity you need. Exploring nearby hiking trails and or walks around the neighborhood are good forms of physical activity that require minimal investment. If seniors are concerned about possible injuries while exercising alone, an automatic fall detection alert system can help them feel more confident that help will arrive if they are ever injured. Companies also offer medical alert devices that instantly call emergency services with the touch of a button in case of a fall, dizziness or other accidents.
Aging is a natural life process and taking proactive measures to be physically, mentally and emotionally sound can ease the process. So during Healthy Aging Month — and all year long — taking small steps, literally, can go a long way in improving your health and overall wellbeing.