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Are You Aging the Right Way? A Look into Healthy Aging

Meghana Giridhar - September 15, 2015 11:22 AM

A report by The National Institute on Aging at NIH states that the average life expectancy of people has changed from 70.8 years in 1970 to 78.0 years in 2008. It’s expected to go up to 79.5 years by 2020.

September is Healthy Aging Month. Aging is inevitable but how you age makes a difference to the quality of life. In today’s times, aging is not about living with an absence of disease but more about a life with quality activities and lifestyle choices to enhance overall well-being.

Simple steps can be taken to stay healthy and active as you age.

Knowing How You Want to Age:

Needs change constantly however planning ahead is always helpful. For seniors, the best way of starting is to understand current health and medical conditions. Many seniors now prefer staying longer in their own homes. The doctor is an ideal care team member who can guide you to get a sense of future requirements. Here are some common day-to-day tasks for which you might need help at a later stage:

Personal hygiene: Trained aides can help with seemingly easy tasks such as bathing and dressing that might get tougher later.

Household chores:  Grocery shopping, laundry, house cleaning and lawn mowing are essential to keep a house well-maintained. There are people who can help with each of these tasks. Cleaning services are aplenty while housekeepers or dry cleaners can help with laundry and/or delivery of clothes.

Meals: Seniors often are resigned to eating by themselves or not being able to cook nutritious meals. That can be easily resolved by either cooking with a friend or having a potluck meal with a group. This can also help with socialization. In addition, there are meal delivery programs that can provide hot meals.

Financial affairs: Seniors often get confused with the myriad of forms related to insurance or bills and fall behind on payments. Volunteers, trusted family members or financial counselors can easily help with these. Banks also offer help with mortgages or auto pay. For those living alone, it is important to avoid falling prey to scams. Some seniors who are incapacitated can give permission to a trusted person to handle legal and financial matters via a durable power of attorney.

Health care: Many seniors need to take medicines regularly or have to visit their doctors for check-ups. Medication management is possible with new devices that act as reminders. There are also special pill boxes available for the same. Home health aides can help with driving seniors to and fro from doctor’s appointments and hospital discharge planners can make arrangements for care after a procedure.

Additional information on many of these services is available from a local Area Agency on Aging.


Eating well is the cornerstone of a healthy life. The difference between a senior aging and one aging well lies in their dietary choices. An ideal senior diet should include:

•    Vegetable and fruit-rich diet
•    Fat-free or low-fat dairy products
•    Foods including whole grains, fish poultry, vegetable oils, beans, seeds and nuts
•    Foods low on sodium, sweets, sugary drinks and red meats

Choosing an Active Lifestyle:

Making the right food choices and enlisting support for needs are only 2 of many aspects that go into aging well. Another critical element is mental and physical activities. Living an isolated life is a major factor in senior depression that can lead to other problems.

Benefits of an active lifestyle include:
•    Lower risks of diseases
•    Longer and happier lifespan
•    Emotional strength and being better equipped to handle stress
•    Ability to improve thinking abilities such as memory and comprehension

Here are some ways to be more socially active:

1.    Engaging socially:
•    Getting together with friends for a weekly coffee or games
•    Going to the theater or a sporting event
•    Joining a senior citizens’ center
•    Traveling with like-minded seniors

2.    Adopting a new interest:
•    Joining a new cooking or computer class
•    Forming a book club
•    Trying a new activity such as yoga
•    Learning a new skill such as a musical instrument or gardening

3.    Giving back to the community:
•    Serving meals or donating clothes to homeless people
•    Preparing care packages
•    Volunteering at an animal shelter or for those with disabilities
•    Volunteering at a school or library
•    Joining a park clean-up event at a community association
•    Taking up a part-time job
•    Exercising

It is important to strike the right balance as you get older. Making conscious decisions towards a healthy lifestyle will empower seniors to enjoy their independence for longer. Age well, live longer!


Meghana Giridhar serves as Content Manager and is part of eCareDiary's founding team. In her role, she oversees and edits content across all of eCareDiary's media platforms.

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