Carol Cummings, RN, Expert on Aging Well

Contact Carol
11 January 2019

When I first started my career in senior living, it was a rare treat to celebrate a resident’s 100th birthday. Now, it is rare to walk into a community and not see several centenarians enjoying retired life. The trend is here to stay. The number of people 60 and older is expected to rise from 900 million to 2 billion from 2015 to 2050.

According to the World Health Organization, a person who is currently 60 years old can expect to live another 20 years or more, on average. A longer life allows for more opportunities. Additional years provide the chance to pursue new activities, further education, start a new career or pursue a long-neglected passion. Yet the extent of these opportunities depends heavily on one factor: health.

As the senior population continues to rise, there is a new emphasis on healthy aging. But what exactly is healthy aging? Does it have to do with your genetic makeup? Spiritual outlook? Social calendar? The easy answer to each is yes, but the real answer is much more complex.

Health in older age is not random and only a small part is due to genetic inheritance. Healthy aging can be attributed to ongoing interactions between broader characteristics of individuals and the environments they inhabit. These factors influence aging starting in childhood. In other words, the way you age is likely the cumulative impact of person-environment interactions across your lifetime.

And so, your lifestyle plays a large role. Exercising at least 150 minutes per week can add three years to your life, on average. A 2018 study published by Sage Journal looked at obituaries and found that people who mentioned religion lived five to nine years longer than those who didn’t. Folks with meaningful social connections are 50 percent more likely to live longer.

At Brookdale, we are passionate about enriching the lives of seniors and understand the importance of healthy aging – not just physically, but emotionally, spiritually and purposefully as well. As part of our ongoing Optimum Life Continuing Education series, we are offering a “Healthy Aging: It’s Never Too Early and Never Too Late” program this January. The webinar explores:

-Global demographics on the aging population

-Theories on the aging process

-Lifestyle factors that support healthy aging

-Environmental factors that impact healthy aging

-Methods to support residents, patients and clients in their aging journey

If you are interested in learning more, register for “Healthy Aging: It’s Never Too Early and Never Too Late” for professional credit on Brookdale’s Continuing Education page.

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