Healthcare in America is booming. New innovative technology, medicine, and techniques are continually improving recovery, life expectancy, and quality of life.
Life expectancy continues to increase among Americans, but aging may be changing in another profound way. Slowed aging and improved quality of life are now the norms. Actual alterations to the rate at which people age biologically may play a significant role in lifespan, research indicates.
May is Older Americans Month, an ideal time to consider ways to continue to thrive physically and emotionally as you age.
"Engage at Every Age"
“Engage at Every Age” is the theme for the 2018 Older Americans Month, focusing on activities that can help individuals continue enjoying life as they get older. The month also seeks to raise awareness about the many ways older adults contribute to their local communities.
Secrets of older Americans that experience higher quality of life include exercise and sports, volunteering, continuing education classes, lectures, and enjoyment of arts help them stay engaged and in better mental and physical health.
Retirement was once viewed as a time to slow down, take it easy, and scale back on activities. Today, views of aging have changed and older adults continue to play a critical role in the fabric of their local communities. By volunteering or serving as a mentor, seniors can benefit others by sharing their experience and knowledge with younger generations.
Living Well to Live Longer
While it is true Americans are living longer on average, it does not mean they have a better quality of life. Individuals with physical or emotional concerns have a lower quality of life than those with an active lifestyle and positive attitude. Over the past century, life expectancy increased by some three decades on average, with many people living into their 80s, 90s, and beyond.
The 60 plus age group is now the fastest-growing demographic in America. Older adults are continuing to lead meaningful lives after retirement and they pursue activities they enjoy.
Research has found that to enjoy fulfillment in life, and individuals need to feel that they have a purpose and are respected. In fact, a lack of feeling needed can have negative consequences on physical health. Beyond merely feeling needed by friends and loved ones, most people want to continue making a more significant societal contribution as they age.
Delayed AgingAccording to a recent study, everyone ages differently. Individuals may be able to enjoy more years of good health by engaging in physically and emotionally healthy behaviors; including exercising, eating healthy, maintaining friendships and participating in mentally stimulating hobbies.
Also, a growing body of research indicates that attitudes about aging also impact physical health and resilience; one study found that people with favorable views of aging may live several years longer than those who internalize negative stereotypes.
Embrace May as an opportunity to move outside your comfort zone, embrace a positive approach to aging, and explore ways to make a difference in your community.
Part of this year's theme of "Engage at Every Age" is a selfie challenge. Administration on Aging is encouraging older Americans to show the world they are "never too old (or too young)." They want pictures of seniors, taken by them self or someone else, actively engaged in an activity, volunteering, physical exercise, or something that they love to do. When posting the picture to social media, remember to use #OAM18 in the post.
We put together a guide to taking a better selfie to help capture the best picture.