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Senior Lifestyles

Healthy Aging Month: Time to reassess aspects of health

September is Healthy Aging Month, when Americans nationwide are reminded to focus on the positive aspects of growing older and take personal responsibility for their health – physically, socially, mentally and financially. A nonprofit national health initiative developed the Healthy Aging program 15 years ago to provide helpful information for successful aging.

It’s never too late to reinvent yourself, according to Carolyn Worthington, executive director of Healthy Aging.

“Use September as the motivation to take stock of where you’ve been and what you really would like to do if money were no object – and try it!” Worthington advised. “Who says you have to do something related to what you studied in school? Who says you can’t 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.”

With a goal to draw attention to the myths of aging, the Healthy Aging group urges people to take control of their health and think about the upside of growing older instead of the negative stereotypes and attitudes.

Included in this year’s campaign is the launch of the free digital Healthy Aging Magazine, which centers on older adults.

Right at Home, a local provider of in-home companion and personal care to seniors and disabled adults, shares the desire to improve the quality of life for seniors.

“Our professional home-care services staff encourages clients of any age to stay as active as possible, keep following their passions and remain optimistic to what’s next in life,” said Gene Lennon, owner of Right at Home Santa Clara County. “We help seniors bring back vibrancy to everyday living, whether we help them cook wholesome meals, participate in a sport, learn a new skill or take fun tours and trips.”

Following are Healthy Aging Month suggestions for reinventing yourself.

• Return to school. It’s never too late to take courses to refocus your career, enhance a skill set or expand your knowledge. Choose a focus or specialization that you care about and can balance well with work, family and other commitments. Many degrees are now available via online courses.

• Take a volunteer vacation. Perhaps it’s time to visit new places, connect and give back. Many travelers are opting for “giving back” vacations that allow for meeting and helping people, learning something new or fulfilling a dream. Volunteer Vacations Across America (www.immersiontraveler.com) includes a list of more than 200 trips for volunteers.

• Initiate a financial makeover. Make an appointment with a financial adviser and walk through your current finances and long-range monetary plans. Don’t be afraid to readjust investments or pull out of financial commitments that weigh you down.

• Get moving like there’s no tomorrow. Older adults who get regular physical exercise improve their overall physical and mental health and are 60 percent less likely to develop dementia. Exercise increases oxygen to the brain and releases a protein that strengthens cells and neurons. Square dancing, swimming, walking and golfing are ideal activities for older adults.

• Eat fresh. Commit to adding fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. Browse farmers’ markets for fresh, local produce. Cook from scratch using fresh ingredients as much as possible, skipping processed, canned foods that often contain excess fat and sodium.

For more information on Healthy Aging month, visit www.healthyaging.net.

For more information on Right at Home, call Gene Lennon at (408) 496-0833.

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