Time and experience have told many people that getting older isn’t an enjoyable process. In the later years of life, individuals often claim they feel more tired, less safe, and that everyday tasks tend to become much more difficult.
But what if there was a way to find joy during this time by following a few basic steps?
The influential and intriguing idea of successful aging is the means to this seemingly impossible end. Learning about the successful aging theory may be a senior’s first step toward achieving a happy life even as they get older.
What is Successful Aging?
A clear definition of successful aging may be hard to come by due to the heavy amount of varying opinions and debates on this specific topic.
But even though there may be many different ways to understand what successful aging is, a look into the study of gerontology tends to be one of the most reliable ways to get an idea.
This concept first appeared back in the early 1960s when a gerontologist named Robert J. Havighurst first mentioned it in an issue of The Gerontological Society of America magazine.
Referencing the theory of successful aging, which is also known as the activity theory, Havighurst discusses how it can best be understood as “adding life to the years” as an individual becomes a senior.
He goes on to review how successful aging involves making both “societal and individual choices” that will lead people to find everything from health and happiness to meaning and purpose in their later years.
While the best time to begin the successful aging process is when we’re still young and developing, elder individuals are still able to achieve this tremendous goal later in life. Even though there is nothing wrong with aging on its own, there are wonderful benefits that stem from these lifestyle choices.
Essentially, the goal of this successful aging theory is to make decisions that will help the senior:
- Enjoy an engaging and fulfilling life.
- Improve their cognitive function and physical health.
- Have a better chance of avoiding illnesses and debilitating diseases.
- Cope with the difficulties that arise if they do end up getting sick.
The ultimate goal is to properly prepare the body, mind, and spirit for aging regardless of what life throws at you. Luckily, there are a handful of steps everyone can follow, beginning at any point, to create this successful aging dynamic for themselves.
Tips for Successful Aging Care
1. Eat Healthy, Wholesome Meals
The need for a nutritious diet is important no matter how old someone is, but it becomes a bigger factor as we get older.
Managing the intake of healthy foods that are rich in protein, fiber, calcium, and vitamins are crucial to maintaining a quality of life that leads to energy and vitality from day to day.
If a senior isn’t able to prepare meals for themselves, it is important that their caregiver help them choose from wholesome options.
2. Keep Your Body Moving
This will look different for everyone depending on their body type and choice of activity.
A senior can purchase a gym membership and do everything from lift weights to spend their entire visit on a treadmill or they can do simple exercises at home.
Whether it’s a walk around the block once a day or a full-blown workout program, exercise is one of the most pivotal keys to successful aging.
3. Manage Preventative Care Routines
Though a healthy diet and exercise play into preventative care for seniors, it is also important to go one step further with their physical well being.
Holding regular visits with a doctor for checkups such as colonoscopies or mammograms and keeping up on vaccines for annual occurrences like the flu should be common practice throughout the year.
Make sure that you are also getting your blood pressure, eyes, skin, and teeth checked regularly.
4. See a Physician if You Get Sick
Even the most healthy people who live a clean lifestyle can get sick at any time of the year. If you catch a cold, the flu, or another virus, visit with your healthcare physician to ensure there isn’t a deeper issue such as pneumonia.
For those who experience chronic pain, get the necessary medications and other remedies to keep it under control as needed.
5. Get to Sleep
Most medical professionals agree that people over the age of 65 years old need between 7-8 hours of sleep to get the rest they need to remain alert during the day. Though this may vary slightly depending on the individual, it’s a good standard to follow when considering successful aging care.
Less may leave a senior feeling groggy and disoriented during the day, while too much more may be a sign of depression, anxiety, or another issue.
6. Keep a Close Network
Going hand in hand with remaining active, staying in touch with friends or making new ones is a wonderful way to age successfully. Engaging in fun activities, developing new hobbies, or simply spending time with others can help seniors avoid feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Elderly individuals should continually attend events with friends or visit with members of their family as often as possible.
7. Be Happy
It is incredibly easy for seniors to fall into thoughts of depression, sadness, guilt, and others as they get older and see the changes in themselves as they age. Finding joy in their lives is among the most vital aspects of the successful aging theory.
Helping seniors to develop a positive perspective and focus on the good things will play a major role in their ability to attain this wonderful achievement.
Helping Seniors Enjoy Successful Aging
Here at Pacific Angels Home Care, we have long provided care that is designed to help elderly individuals live peacefully and safely in their own homes. Through our successful aging care, we see joy in these seniors and that keeps us motivated to do the same for each and every member of our community.
If you’d like to learn more about all the ways we serve seniors at home, give us a call today at (831) 612-6435.