SAN DIEGO: With approximately one out of every 7 Americans age 65 or older, it is crucial to practice healthy aging. Older Americans represent 15.2% of the entire US population. (source: 2017 Profile of Older Americans published by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living and the Administration on Aging)
A growing demographic
With an average median life expectancy of approximately 19.4 years beyond age 65, the growth of this population is expected to double in numbers to 98 million by the year 2060. (sourced as above)
The Age Wave is gaining unprecedented strength and size which challenges our policymakers and staggers the rest of us as we adjust to this new age aspect of an ever-changing world.
As part of a global community, peoples of the world are also becoming increasingly older.
The issue of aging is so impactful that the World Health Organization began a focus on Healthy Ageing in 2015,. The program is slated to continue through 2030.
WHO describes Healthy Ageing “as the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age”.
According to WHO, the functional ability for older adults includes:
- The ability to meet basic needs.
- The opportunity to learn, grow and make decisions.
- The freedom to be mobile.
- The capacity to engage with others and build relationships.
- The right to contribute to society.
Central to this perspective is wellness–as wellness and good health is critical for maximizing the quality of life.
Eating healthy is about making healthy choices such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.
Regular physical activity is critical to preventing disease, strengthening the body, prevent falls and encouraging healthy brain function.
Never smoking, or choosing to quit.
Regular physical check-ups and doctor visits can be both preventive and curative.
Being aware of family history and genetic tendencies help to determine what lifestyle changes to adopt and to change.
Brain health is critical as is preventing dementia through early interventions and prevention strategies.
Self-esteem is an important aspect of healthy aging, as pointed out by Harvard Medical School.
According to Harvard Medical School, the age-related bell curve is at its peak during middle age as human beings are reaching theirs in developing career identities and establishing meaningful relationships.
As retirement age becomes nearer, there could be losses of influence, relationships, social structures, economic strength and the like which could lead to lowered self-esteem–creating a sense of being less relevant.
Debunking Ageism is a necessary fundamental for choosing to feel valued for past self-image and accomplishments–which could be replaced by new self-concepts, drives, interests, and desires.
Change is what makes our world go around, it is inevitable and can be sometimes difficult.
Living longer may mean that the desire to be healthy and happy become top priorities so that there is optimizing of the years ahead.
Though women tend to outnumber men demographically, there are a variety of lifestyles and life choices available as never before.
Time for a change of scenery
Relocation could be an option as choices could be made which maximizes well being, financial considerations and interests.
Which US cities are deemed as providing optimal opportunities for healthy happy best years to come?
Here is what Forbes has to say about the Best Big Cities in their view:
1. Madison, Wisconsin
2. Omaha, Nebraska
3. Provo, Utah
4. Boston, Massachusetts
5. Salt Lake City, Utah
6. Jackson, Mississippi
7. Des Mines, Iowa
8. Toledo, Ohio
9. Austin, Texas
10. Bridgeport, Connecticut
Healthy aging is an adventure of a lifetime to determine to reinvent oneself
It is the opportunity help prevent what may lead to ill-health in the future, strengthen what is desirable for the long-run, develop new goals for fulfillment, ensure the prevalence of strong social ties, have access to quality supports and services, ensure financial stability and, the opportunity to engage in new opportunities to contribute and make a difference.
Debunking Ageism is a right-a right to value oneself at any stage of life and choosing to live with self-determined terms which lead to the greatest wellness and personal fulfillment.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!