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Healthy Aging Month: Re-Invent Yourself This September

September 10, 2020

A friend once shared that the busiest day of the year for her small business was always the Tuesday after Labor Day. Interesting! She saw it as a time to evaluate goals achieved and shortfalls missed during the year’s first three quarters. Then, she’d reformulate objectives for the last quarter and devise a solid plan to end the year on a high note. What does this have to do with healthy aging? If you think about it, you basically follow the same path of reasoning in your home when you begin fall housecleaning—a practice still meticulously followed by many. Fall seems to bring with it a spirit of Refresh—Renew—Resolve, doesn’t it?

This basic process could be one reason Healthy Aging® Magazine designated the month of September as Healthy Aging Month—an observance created to recognize and celebrate aspects of growing older—or to refresh, renew, and resolve to get back on track with your plans for the future. “Use September as the motivation to take stock of where you’ve been, what you really would like to do,” says Carolyn Worthington, editor-in-chief of Healthy Aging® Magazine.

Here, we’ll try to help you by sharing tips, trends and thoughts from experts who help vibrant, active 45-plus adults take charge of their lives, follow their passions, and happily look forward to what’s next in life.

Healthy Aging Month

What Do We Mean by HEALTHY Aging?

Emerald Heights has it figured out—and it’s far more than just getting exercise and eating right. A whole-body wellness program that supports an ongoing pursuit of improvement and life enrichment in seven areas forms the backbone of this Life Care community.

These areas are:
1. Social—Developing meaningful relationships and connecting with people.
2. Emotional—Understanding, acknowledging and reacting to feelings in a healthy, productive manner.
3. Spiritual—Exploring life and discovering their own truths.
4. Environmental—Making a positive impact on the world around us.
5. Vocational—Practicing and using personal skills and talents for greater life enrichment.
6. Physical—Engaging in activities that support healthy bodily function and longevity.
7. Intellectual—Using their minds to interact with the world in a lively manner.

Educational classes, fitness programs, social events, recreational activities and cultural experiences based on residents’ interests enhance all seven aspects of personal wellness and make a positive difference in the lives of Emerald Heights residents. They’re discovering new sports, passions, hobbies and improving their health. Through this holistic approach, residents achieve and maintain optimal health and independence at every age—proving it’s never too late for positive change and new habits. Even in the current environment, residents remain active through online Zoom classes, walking our beautiful one-mile nature trail and enjoying outdoor activities while maintaining a safe distance.

But, don’t take our word for it. Read about Emerald Heights resident Shirin Velji, recipient of the 2020 Inspire Positive Aging Award in Health and Wellness from Sound Generations, King County’s largest provider of comprehensive services for aging adults. Shirin has a positive attitude for aging gracefully—so do Emerald Heights residents Maggie Backman, Irene and Marie McEwen, and Tom Stoebe—read their stories, too.

Tips, Trends and Thoughts for Healthy Aging

Many resources are available for how to age healthfully . . . or successfully. We researched the works of several leading experts and organizations and complied our favorite tips. We hope you find them helpful.

Accentuate the positive . . . Eliminate the negative.

One can’t help but sing through this first tip, as it was put to music in the 1940s by Johnny Mercer and sung by Bing Crosby. The basic idea from Healthy Aging® Magazine, however, is very sound: when you catch yourself complaining, stop and change the conversation to something positive. And, although it may be strong medicine to swallow, distance yourself from people who have a negative outlook on life. They’ll only depress you and stop you from moving forward. So, surround yourself with energetic, happy, positive people of all ages and you will be happier too.

Never Act Your Age.

From Dr. Roger Landry, a preventive medicine physician and author of award-winning Live Long, Die Short: A Guide to Authentic Health and Successful Aging—Never Act Your Age! Dismiss the stereotypes of aging that emphasize decline as you grow older. Rather, be more like the young, always learning, being beginners, and continuing to move, learn, connect, and give back. The result will be an aging experience which is vital and rewarding.

Get Moving.

Experts at the National Institute on Aging present helpful resources throughout the year that inspire older adults with practical healthy aging ideas. They position exercise and physical activity as the cornerstone of any healthy aging program. Dr. Landry adds: Keep Moving. Use your body. Physical activity is the closest thing to a fountain of youth—even just 30 minutes of walking a day can reduce the risk of many problems. In fact, Emerald Heights makes it easy for residents to find something they enjoy by offering a full slate of fitness and activity selections supported by beautifully designed amenities.

Stand Tall . . . Walk Tall.

Sometimes a simple gaze in the mirror will remind you to make physical adjustments that will help you look younger. The editors at Healthy Aging® Magazine remind us to stand up straight, stomach in, shoulders back, chin up—like your mother used to tell you. Your neck will look better and your waistline trimmer. Now, walk like a vibrant, healthy person. Analyze your gait. Make a conscious effort to take big strides, walk with your heel first, and wear comfortable shoes.

And finally, . . .

A few more quick thoughts from Dr. Landry that will give you the best chance to maximize your potential as you age:

  • Use it or lose it. Keep developing skills. Somehow, as we age, we attribute lost ability to getting old, rather than being out of shape or out of practice.
  • Challenge your mind. Mental function requires that we use our brain and grow it with courses, learning a language, and word games to keep us sharp. We are two times less likely to get dementia if we stay physically and mentally active.
  • Stay connected to friends and family. Human interaction helps us thrive. Cherish family, rebuild friendships, join clubs and stay open to meeting new people.
  • Stay colorful and creative. If we follow our hearts desires, we will not get old. Maybe there’s a musician or artist lurking inside you.
  • Beware of the threats. Work to eliminate disease—smoking, obesity, diabetes. Work with your doctor to care for any conditions you’re experiencing or are at risk for.
  • Eat for the long haul. Eat a balanced diet and drink lots of water. We all struggle with nutrition. What do you need to change to stay committed to good nutrition?
  • Have children in your life. They keep us young. If you do not have children in your life, find some at schools, church, or organizations like Big Brother and Big Sisters.
  • Be needed. Nurture the world. Volunteer. Any activity that gives you a sense of nurturing someone or something—even plants and pets—is beneficial.
  • Laugh. Humor is the mainstay of life and stimulates the immune system. In fact, the most common trait seen in people ages 100 years or older is a sense of humor and optimism.

Add to Your September To-Do List . . .

. . . Find out all I can about Emerald Heights. As the only Life Care community in the Bellevue/Redmond/Kirkland area where you can live independently with the security of a full continuum of on-site care, if ever needed, Emerald Heights may be just what you’re looking for to fulfill your goals for healthy aging.

Start by visiting our website, photo & video galleries, and Facebook page. And in the near future, we hope to give you a personal tour of our community. Call 866-553-4576 or complete our online form.