Over the past few decades, the concept of healthy aging has grown in popularity. Older adults are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to stay active and independently age in place.
Healthy Aging Magazine and HealthyAging.net started “September is Healthy Aging® Month” 24 years ago, to support the older population’s efforts through a national observance. Their goal is to change aging adults’ mindsets from concentrating on what they cannot do, to what they can do, with a philosophy of it’s never too late to try something new.
10 Healthy Aging Tips for Clients Aging in Place
As summer changes over to fall, September brings the perfect opportunity to evaluate your clients’ current health statuses and help them create new goals. Some seniors may be worried about their physical limitations, but showing them the many options they have for improving their physical, mental and emotional health is vital for safely and effectively aging at home.
Here’s how to encourage clients throughout Healthy Aging® Month:
1. Create a safe home environment. Assess the client’s home for things that could cause safety concerns. For example, throw rugs, low furniture and electrical cords can all cause a debilitating fall. Also, check to make sure all rooms have proper lighting, and suggest adding night lights to hallways and bathrooms for the nighttime hours.
2. Stay as physically active as possible. Seniors who add exercising to their daily routines feel better not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Help them set realistic goals by starting slowly with 10-minute increments of activity a day. The fall season offers some of the most spectacular weather, and is a great opportunity for seniors to enjoy a walk amongst all the beautiful foliage.
3. Eat a well-balanced diet. Make sure clients are eating healthy, nutritious meals full of fresh fruits, veggies, lean proteins and whole grains. A healthy diet allows seniors to maintain an ideal weight, and can enhance emotional and mental health.
4. Give your brain a workout. Encourage clients to keep their brains engaged and stimulated as much as possible. Taking a class at a local community college or senior center is a great option. Additionally, promoting seniors to pick up a new hobby or play brain games is encouraged. Keeping mentally active has been shown to reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
5. Allow for some creativity. In addition to keeping their brains and bodies active, seniors should be urged to tap into their creative sides. Learning an instrument, painting a watercolor picture, or even coloring in an adult coloring book helps seniors find their inner artists.
6. Visit your doctor. Clients should use Healthy Aging® Month as a reminder to schedule an annual exam with their primary physician. Seeing a doctor regularly helps keep chronic conditions under control and allows for more effective early diagnosis of new ailments.
7. Rest when you need to. Getting a good night’s sleep can often be an issue for older adults. Help clients establish a nightly routine that allows them time to wind down each evening. Napping is fine, as long as it’s not in the later hours as this could affect sleep patterns.
8. Get involved with others. Becoming socially isolated is often a concern for seniors. Encourage clients to reach out to others, like inviting friends and loved ones over for a meal or an activity.
9. Make getting organized a priority. Keeping a daily or weekly calendar is highly recommended for seniors. By tracking appointments, medications, and their goals for physical activity it keeps seniors engaged.
10. Think happy thoughts. Older adults should be encouraged to focus on all the positive aspects in their lives.
Which of these healthy aging tips do you think would most help your clients successfully age in place?
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