As the baby-boom generation continues to age, we in health care will be tasked with unprecedented challenges. I’m confident, though, that we can meet the growing and multifaceted needs of this …
As the baby-boom generation continues to age, we in health care will be tasked with unprecedented challenges. I’m confident, though, that we can meet the growing and multifaceted needs of this huge segment of the population. Awareness efforts such as Older Americans Month will help us achieve these worthwhile goals.
Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, Older Americans Month was established by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) in 1963. Observed every May, the awareness month recognizes the contributions and achievements of older Americans while also highlighting important trends relevant to seniors and their well-being.
This year’s theme is “Aging Unbound,” which ACL describes as “an opportunity to explore diverse aging experiences and discuss how communities can combat stereotypes.” It’s a way to promote flexible thinking about aging, and stress how we all benefit when older adults “remain engaged, independent and included.”
Here are a few things older adults can do that align with that theme, according to the ACL:
Embrace the opportunity to change: That can mean everything from finding a new hobby to traveling more—really anything that allows you to push boundaries and not let age define you. Be creative and purposeful, and pursue things that you enjoy and draw energy from.
Explore the rewards of growing older: Age brings wisdom and knowledge, and thus gives you to have the confidence to understand and experience life at a deeper, more satisfying level. And you can continue to grow through pursuits like reading or taking a class.
Stay engaged in your community: Being involved in your local community allows you to retain your sense of purpose. Volunteer, serve as a mentor, participate in a social club or regularly attend events at your local senior center.
Remain active: It is never too late to start an exercise program—whether it’s yoga, Pilates, swimming or walking, regular exercise can improve coordination, flexibility and memory.
Form relationships: Close interpersonal relationships are hugely important to one’s well-being and quality of life, so it’s vital to forge deeper connections with family members, friends and others who come into your life.
These are all great suggestions, but I would be remiss if I didn’t also point out that it’s incredibly important for older Americans to stay on top of their health care needs.
We here at the Wright Center for Community Health know all too well the unique challenges faced by our more mature patients, which is why we offer a full range of geriatric services that promote good health, prevent disease, treat afflictions and manage disabilities.
We think our holistic, whole-person approach to treatment and care is especially beneficial to aging adults who may find themselves categorized as frail—or aren’t being listened to by other doctors. Our specialized services include Alzheimer’s and dementia evaluation and testing, well visits with providers, ongoing care for chronic conditions, caregiver support, preventive care and health education, case management and linkage to community resources and support services.
You may be aging, but you are also living—and with the right kind of medical attention, and the right frame of mind, you can continue to live well as you progress through your golden years.
Deborah Spring, M.D., is triple-board certified in family medicine, adolescent medicine and geriatric medicine. Dr. Spring accepts patients of all ages, and specializes in adolescent and geriatric medicine.
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