September Is Healthy Aging Month
“You’ve got to accentuate the positive / Eliminate the negative / Latch on to the affirmative / Don’t mess with Mister In-Between / You got to spread joy up to the maximum / Bring gloom down to the minimum / And have faith, or pandemonium / Liable to walk upon the scene” — Lyrics by Johnny Mercer, 1944
Healthy Aging month in September embraces the message of the popular song as it focuses attention on the positive aspects of aging to help seniors remain healthy and vibrant as they grow older.
Staying healthy, mentally and physically, is critical to a person’s quality of life. Seniors with a positive outlook more readily engage in activities that give their lives meaning and purpose and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Find something that inspires your passion, makes your heart beat faster (in a good way!), and makes you smile or laugh out loud.
Healthy lifestyle choices will vary depending on the individual, but looking at your life from the perspective of some of these options is a starting point to help you create a life that brings you joy and makes each moment the best it can be.
- Accentuate the Positive: When life hands you lemons, make lemonade! Finding the positive in any situation encourages optimism, gives you hope and helps you see people and events from a different perspective. When you notice yourself complaining, replace that voice with a positive comment.
- Age is Just a Number: Consider this humorous bit of wisdom often credited to French film star Maurice Chevalier: ”Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.” Whatever your age, challenge yourself each day to find something to celebrate or appreciate.
- Get Creative: Take a class. Learn a language. Try a few DIY projects. Ever since COVID-19 upended life as we knew it, the Internet has exploded with YouTube videos and ZOOM classes on a multitude of subjects: learn to knit, take a ballet class for beginners, let the experts help you become an art appreciator, learn how to bake bread, study Italian, join a book club, rejuvenate that old bureau sitting in your attic. You get the idea…find something that piques your interest and try it out.
- Get Moving: Find the exercise that works best for you and that you will stick with. Walking, running, skiing, swimming, biking, yoga, tai chi, gardening, dancing…there are so many options that help you stay strong and flexible. Think of it this way: if you don’t move, you rust in place!
- Stay Social: Daily and weekly interactions with friends and relatives can elevate your mood and help keep depression at bay. During these Corona virus times, the telephone or any of the social media platforms can connect you with the world outside your home. Or arrange for a socially distanced meet-up in your yard or on your porch with a couple of friends or family members for an uplifting visit.
- Eat Well: Your heart and your digestion will thank you when you add lots of fruits and vegetables to your diet, along with beans and other high fiber foods.
- Peace of Mind: Seeing your health care practitioner on a regular basis can ward off health problems, keep existing medical concerns in check, and give you peace of mind that you are being proactive when it comes to your healthcare. Along with your medical doctor, don’t forget to schedule eye exams and dental cleanings.
As the song reminds us, accentuate the positive and latch on to the affirmative for a healthier and happier life.