The nation's senior citizens are giving us all something to look forward to. A recent study done by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) has found that an overwhelming majority of American citizens between the ages of 60 and 69 feel that the past year of their life has been good, or even better than normal. An even higher number say that they expect life to become even more enjoyable over the next decade.
Where is This Positivity Coming From?
The quality of life that Americans experience in this day and age differs greatly from that which many senior citizens experienced growing up. Advances in medicine, understanding of nutrition and dietary needs and knowledge of the importance of exercise are all helping older people continue to enjoy many of the same activities and comforts that they experienced during their youth, or sometimes even more.
Many of today’s senior citizens did not even have air conditioning or heating in their homes while they were children, let alone entertainment systems, exercise equipment, and kitchen appliances that can do anything from blend a smoothie to make popcorn with little effort. People of a different generation tend to have a stronger appreciation for just how good we have it today.
You may have heard the saying, “70 is the new 50,” and it’s true! Thanks to our increased lifespan, we really do need to re-define the term “middle age.” Our advisor from assisted living in Birmingham AL points out that an increased lifespan is no guarantee for a happy life, their happiest seniors enjoy an active social life and take advantage of a large variety of activities. All of us should look to the many healthy and active senior citizens as an example of how to live. What exactly are they doing to stay so healthy and happy?
The Secret to Staying Happy and Healthy
It really is no secret that exercise keeps us young. Everyone knows we are supposed to do it and no one really wants to do it, but in order to remain spry throughout our later years, we simply must do it. This isn’t to say that every healthy and active senior is out pumping iron in the gym each day. The key is to stay active and mobile, and to have fun doing it if possible.
Many assisted-living programs offer a variety of health and wellness classes and group outings designed specifically for seniors. These activity programs coupled with nutritious meals and a social lifestyle help seniors living in assisted living communities stay happy and healthy. Many seniors that live at home get their blood pumping by walking their dogs, gardening, or cleaning up around the house. Keeping busy and moving around a lot is the key. The phrase, “use it or lose it” really is speaking the truth.
The most important factor in experiencing a long and happy life is to simply enjoy and have fun. Studies have shown that people who laugh and smile often experience an increase in natural endorphins, which can help reduce pain as we get older. Happy people also have less stress hormones, a stronger immune system and less cases of illness than their grumpy peers. Senior citizens who refuse to take life too seriously and continue to have fun by spending time with friends and family and taking part in activities they love are practically guaranteed to live longer and healthier lives. If they can do it, the rest of us can too.
Shelby Warden is a researcher and contributing author for articles for the Chateau Vestavia assisted living in Birmingham AL. Chateau Vestavia is a full-service retirement community that provides a wide range of activities for the changing interest of today's seniors. Their residents have a large variety of activities to participate in, including health and wellness classes, evening socials, movies, musical entertainment, bingo, group outings and picnics.