An aging global population means more older adults trying to find ways to age successfully. But what does “aging successfully” mean, and what does it entail?
Successful aging can mean different things to different people, but, overall many define it as the ability to continue living an independent and healthy lifestyle well into one’s later years.
Geriatrician Dr. Natalie Sanders says the three most important aspects of aging successfully are staying cognitively, physically, and socially active. Developing and implementing good habits into your routine that benefits your well-being can be tricky, but it is well worth it in the long run. Here are some ways to apply these aspects into your everyday life:
Keeping a sharp mind and high brain functionality is essential in a successful aging journey. Cognitive health refers to the ability to learn, remember, and think clearly, and there are many different methods used in sustaining and improving a healthy, active brain. Computerized cognitive training (CCT) programs have shown to prevent cognitive decline and dementia in older adults who participate at least six hours a week.
CCT programs are engaging digital health applications that train and improve cognitive function in older adults through various exercises. The widely accessible nature of technology allows for anyone with a smartphone or tablet to access these programs. Check out this list of the best five apps to train your brain and find the right one for you.
Sticking to the more traditional methods of cognitive and mental stimulation such as crossword puzzles, drawing, or reading can work just as well. Mental engagement, as well as socialization have been shown to ward off depressive symptoms. The Wellzesta Health Research Institute (WHRI), a 501(c)(3) conducted a study (and white paper) on depression among seniors at senior living communities.
A healthy body is perhaps the most common ideal of healthy living. Physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease, improve immune systems, and is anti-inflammatory, so it is no surprise why it is crucial in successful aging. It is also linked to improved cognitive functioning and does not have to be the typical visit to the gym. Getting a pet, for example, can keep you active and motivates you to go for walks.
Growing your own garden not only encourages you to eat healthy, organic food, but it has also shown to improve mood and provide rewarding physical activity. Yoga is also a safe and effective way for older adults to improve stability and balance while also increasing their flexibility and strength. Try to aim for an activity that you enjoy so you are more motivated and excited to do it regularly.
Meaningful social interactions with your family, friends, or community can do wonders for your overall health, and can even increase life expectancy. Staying socially active can go hand-in-hand with physical activity. In fact, doing a physical activity with a group of people or family can push you to stick to your workout routine. Volunteering is also a good way to stay active in your community and interact with others in a meaningful way.
You can also become an active participant in your senior living community. If your community offers events- either in-person or virtually- consider attending them to learn more about the people around you and create lasting bonds.
Spirituality and religious participation, like cognitive, physical, and social activities, has been linked to successful aging. There is a strong sense of community among faith groups that allows older adults to create meaningful relationships that help them through hard times. These connections and spiritual bonds can boost seniors’ wellness and help them stay socially connected.
Seniors who regularly participate in their spirituality or religion were also shown to have slower mental decline. In older adults with existing cognitive or other diseases, their religion or spirituality aided them in coping, helped them maintain hope, and allowed them to find meaning in their lives, effectively enhancing their quality of life.
Live a Meaningful Life
To some people, aging can mean more than just the cognitive, physical, and social aspects of life. Your definition of “successful aging” could be entirely different depending on your values and what you want to achieve in this life.
To live a long life, one has to have meaning. According to research published in Psychology Science, finding a purpose can help you live longer. It is never too late to find that purpose, and becoming older allows you to focus on what you want to do.
Wellzesta is dedicated to purposeful living and making resident’s lives all that they can be as they age. Wellzesta aims to provide holistic wellness and elevate your well-being.
Wellzesta Life encourages older adults to put their well-being first. Through multiple features centered around physical, intellectual, and social wellness, Life allows its users to thrive.
With stimulating articles and videos, goal setting technology, social events, real-time communication features, and more, residents have endless resources to better themselves and are allowed the chance to age successfully and with purpose.
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