Eating properly, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep every night are healthy routines no matter what age group a person fits into. However, after age 60, these habits can become even more important. Lifetime habits start in childhood and won’t automatically change just because of age. However, dietary requirements do change. As the body ages, caloric needs decrease, and nutritional needs increase. Those who have attended healthy aging programs can confirm that with the support of like-minded individuals, learning new habits and maintaining them can be easier and a lot more fun.
Correcting Lifelong Eating Patterns
Food preparation and choices are key to establishing healthier eating habits. The micronutrients in fruits and vegetables are essential to proper digestion and controlling weight. Healthy aging programs can include information on the importance of nutrients present in whole foods vs. processed foods. In the last twenty years, consumers have often thought more about convenience than nutritional needs. Most of the easy-fix options are highly processed and contain high levels of salt, glucose, or both. The best meal is not always the quickest to prepare. Take a cooking class and learn that making a dish from scratch is the preferred and healthier way.
Connecting with Like-Minded Individuals
Taking a group exercise class not only gets the body moving, but also creates an opportunity for social interaction. This is important for older adults, especially widows and widowers. After losing one’s spouse, it can be a time of loneliness and even depression. Seniors may not take care of themselves if depressed after the death of a spouse. Sleeping or eating habits may be affected at this time. Having a scheduled meet-up for a swim class, a walking buddy, or just a get together to play cards can give the senior the structure needed to get up and get going. Isolation can be a person’s worst enemy when struggling with loss.
Another benefit to joining healthy aging programs is the new information and resources shared there. Not only does the program provide valuable local points of contact for social service agencies, ideas about community involvement, and help with technical questions for online registrations, but the participants themselves also share their personal knowledge and experience with each other during their attendance at these healthy aging programs. Reaching out and helping another person find answers can be a rewarding role and can fulfill the common human need to do something good for the community.
Continue as a Lifelong Learner/Teacher
Career experience can also become a resource for seniors interested in volunteering or finding part-time employment. Seeking out mentoring programs and cross-generational learning environments can keep the elderly current and able to pass on their experience and skills. The time devoted to service will be more than compensated in gratitude and appreciation. Keeping the body and mind active will increase one’s sense of well-being and health.
Healthy aging programs offer a variety of tools for the senior citizen to remain vital and socially aware. With activities including cooking classes, learning a foreign language, nutritional guidance, and swimming exercise groups, there is something for everyone to sample. Meeting new people and sharing one’s story or listening to someone else’s is a big part of what a healthy aging program offers to the older adult population.