September is Healthy Aging Month, a nationwide observance dedicated to empowering older adults by promoting the positive features of aging. Keep reading to learn more.
Updated December 19, 2022
What is Healthy Aging Month?
As we age, it’s easy to focus on the negative aspects of growing old. Our vision deteriorates, joint pain occurs more frequently, and things don’t taste the same as they used to.
However, many good things come with age, such as perspective, confidence, and grandkids. And that focus is precisely what Healthy Aging Month revolves around.
During Healthy Aging Month, organizations raise awareness about how adults 45 and older can live healthier, happier lives. In addition, many groups host educational events where older adults can learn to improve their physical, mental, social, and financial health.
Now is the perfect opportunity for adults of any age to adopt healthier habits that set them up for healthy aging. Carolyn Worthington, the executive director of Healthy Aging and editor-in-chief of Healthy Aging Magazine, says it’s never too late for adults to “re-invent” themselves.
“We saw a need to draw attention to the myths of aging, to shout out ‘Hey, it’s not too late to take control of your health, it’s never too late to get started on something new.’ Why not think about the positive aspects of aging instead of the stereotypes and the negative aspects?”
Carol Worthington, Healthy Aging Month founder, and editor-in-chief of Healthy Aging Magazine
Whether it’s another career, practicing a new sport, or visiting a new place, there are so many ways older adults can re-invent themselves at any age.
Technology and changing mindsets toward aging make growing old easier than ever before. Not only that, but if you develop healthy habits now, you’ll set yourself up for many years of graceful aging.
10 Ways To Improve Wellbeing During Healthy Aging Month
“Use September as the motivation to take stock of where you’ve been, what you really would like to do if money was no object. And try it! Who says you have to do something related to what you studied in school? Who says you can’t become an entrepreneur, start your own home business later in life, test your physical prowess, or do something wildly different from anything you’ve done before? Only that person you see in the mirror!”
1. Train Yourself To Think Positively
Several studies (such as the Nun Study) have found strong connections between positive thinking and longevity. It can also make it easier to manage stressful interactions and events.
Of course, looking on the bright side isn’t always the easiest thing to do. For example, depression, chronic pain, or financial difficulties can make it harder to overcome negative thoughts. These situations are valid but make it challenging to develop a positive mindset. So if you struggle with depression or another mental health issue, you should see a professional who can help you manage negative thought patterns and emotions.
Optimistic people find the silver lining in adverse situations. They also look for the best in themselves and others. If you struggle with negative thoughts, try to “re-train” yourself by replacing them with positive ones.
Practice being positive when talking to others (and to yourself). If you notice yourself complaining, try to think of something positive instead. If your social circle consists of negative Nancies, consider distancing yourself from them.
Making healthy choices and adopting a positive mindset will improve your longevity and make life better for yourself and the people around you. It might not be easy, but surrounding yourself with these personalities will impact your outlook and hold you back from your best life.
2. Rediscover Your Purpose
Studies show that Alzheimer’s is less likely to develop in older adults with a sense of purpose. However, finding this can take serious time and effort. While setting new goals can alleviate this issue, the trick is to create a realistic, clear-cut plan that outlines how you will accomplish it.
Realizing your purpose is essential to your overall quality of life. That’s why Worthington encourages older adults to get out of their comfort zone during Healthy Aging Month.
So ask yourself:
- What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
- Which activity or aspect of your day do you most anticipate?
- How do you work toward personal growth?
Find something that gives you a reason to get out of bed each day. If that means rediscovering your passion or finding a new one, then do it! Your golden years will shine brightest when you find your purpose and improve your wellbeing.
3. Recognize That Age Is Just A Number
Healthy Aging Month is all about seeing the positives in aging. You’re never too old for anything.
So take your age for what it is – a number. It doesn’t stop you from being who you are, who you want to be, or who you could be.
It’s never a good idea to act based on how other people your age behave. Think about your favorite age. Were you 25? 45? 65? Imagine yourself then and do what you did then. It’s not denial – it’s a positive mindset that will help you improve your self-perception.
4. Take Charge Of Your Health
Being proactive will lay the foundation for better physical and mental health in later years. So during Healthy Aging Month, find out what benefits your health insurance covers and plan to take advantage of them.
Older adults are entitled to numerous healthcare benefits that younger people are not, such as screenings or tests. So consider scheduling your yearly physical or seeing a specialist to treat that problem you’ve been ignoring. This way, you can give yourself peace of mind knowing that you are responsible for your health.
Similarly, seniors should get two and a half hours of physical activity every week. It can even be a partial workout, too. For example, taking a walk through the park can be enough, or try some simple indoor exercises for seniors.
5. Energize Yourself Naturally
Naps aren’t only for young children; they’re for everyone! For older adults, in particular, naps can boost alertness and energy, which helps with cognition and focus. Additionally, research shows that nap-takers are 37% less likely to develop heart disease.
Another way to uplift your energy is by eating the right foods. Iron deficiency causes lethargy, so if you feel frequently fatigued, look for iron-rich foods such as spinach, meat, beans, and dried fruit. Getting enough iron is particularly important for women since nearly 10% have an iron deficiency.
When the molecules in veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats interact after consumption, they provide more energy than if you ate just one or two at a time. Similarly, snacking can help seniors can maintain their energy throughout the day.
But rather than eating processed foods, consider making your snacks at home, like trail mixes and energy bars. A nutritious diet is one of the best ways to fuel your body to get the most out of your golden years.
6. Try New Things
Is there a particular activity you’ve always wanted to try but never had time to practice before retirement? Why not make a promise to yourself to try it during Healthy Aging Month?
Challenging yourself to try new things is a great way to stimulate your brain and meet new people. You can also find numerous free classes and tutorials online. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Experiment with new hobbies
- Learn a new skill or language
- Enroll in a local or online class
- Participate (or start) a book club or walking group.
Don’t let your age stop you from trying new things (within reason, of course!). Incorporating new activities into your routine will give you something to look forward to and keep you from doing the same things every day.
7. Build A Support System
Mental health is one of the core aspects of healthy aging, and a positive support system can significantly boost your mental wellbeing. Surround yourself with friends and loved ones that fill you with joy rather than bring you down.
A growing body of evidence shows a correlation between positive social connections and longevity. So, during Healthy Aging Month, make it a point to engage with positive people who support you and push you to try new things. If your social circle is limited, consider taking a local class or volunteering.
8. Walk Confidently
Even if you are the least confident person in the world, no one will know if you don’t show it. Healthy Aging Month is just as much about improving emotional wellness. One way to do that is by walking like someone with confidence. Even if you have to fake it, you will eventually make it.
In the same vein, remember your posture! Sitting up straight makes you look younger and flatters your shape. Try it in the mirror and see the difference that holding your chin up can make! That will go a long way to help you develop your confidence.
There is a strong correlation between happiness and the number of times you smile. But if you feel self-conscious about your smile, why not do what you can to improve your wellbeing? Dental health is just as important as mental health, but unfortunately, it often goes unchecked. So this month, consider making an effort to schedule a dentist appointment and get in the habit of flossing.
10. Reexamine Your Financial Health
Why should you examine your expenses, make a budget, and try to trim unnecessary costs during Healthy Aging Month? Because doing so can help you save money so you can afford the things you want, which leads to lower stress. When you know where your money is going, you can redirect it to something you want to do, such as travel, sports, or leisure.
MeetCaregivers Supports Healthy Aging Month
Healthy Aging Month focuses on the positive aspects of aging and empowering older adults to do the same about themselves.
Many organizations offer in-person and online events to educate people about the importance of healthy aging. Look online to find local events in your area.
Minor changes to your lifestyle, diet, and mindset will create a better basis for healthy aging. If you struggle with mental or physical issues, get professional help sooner rather than later.
If you or a loved one needs extra help living their best life, we can help. Our qualified caregivers can assist with transportation, dressing, cooking, and more. Call 1 (888) 541-1136 or Find A Caregiver today.
Visit the Blog for additional resources and tips for caregivers and aging in place.
- Davis, Amy. “Healthy Aging Month Tips: 6 Healthy Lifestyle Ideas.” Healthy Aging ®, Mansions Senior Living, 18 Aug. 2016, healthyaging.net/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/
- “September Is Healthy Aging Month.” Healthy Aging ®, 18 Aug. 2016, healthyaging.net/healthy-aging-month/september-is-healthy-aging-month/