Successful Aging

There has been a growth of investigation into the concept of successful aging in recent years. The most commonly used explanation is the increase in lifespan of those living in modern times, the most beneficent group as of yet being the “baby boomers”,

or the generation of people born right after WWII. A substantially larger amount of people are living past retirement than ever before, and they are looking to the best way to continue into life after accomplishing most of the goals that they set for themselves so long ago. There have been many studies into the subject, with methods ranging from following the subjects health over long periods of time to making connections between activities and happiness. For the most part, all of these studies have made very similar conclusions in how to help yourself age well.

The key factor to successful aging seems to be the idea of overall “wellness” (Seeman 1). Wellness is the goal which is accomplished through the manipulation of many different aspects of an aging person’s lifestyle. The most important aspects include intellectual, emotional, physical, social, occupational, and spiritual wellbeing. Though different people may have had different ways of taking care of each dimension of their wellness, it may be noted that each person who took care of every dimension in some way were still as happy as those who did the same through different methods (Seeman 2).

One example of this can be seen through the methods of maintaining physical health. Whether it is biking, walking, jogging or leisurely playing Frisbee with a pet, it has been shown that peoples overall health takes on a much more positive influence from daily physical activity (CDC 1). Many seniors do not realize the many benefits of physical activity. Amongst obvious reasons, activity seems to help prevent or slow down the onset of high blood pressure, stroke, depression, colon cancer, osteoporosis, and obesity, diabetes. Maintaining strength also helps to prevent falls and counteract the loss of muscle mass that comes from aging, also known as sarcopenia (CDC 2).

Some things that may seem to be the smallest part of your life may be helping you in many ways. For most people, getting together with friends for group activities, even competitive ones, have shown to help the individuals sustain their intellectual, emotional, and social dimensions. This is why seniors are encouraged to involve themselves in recreational activities with others.

With the realization of the need of physical activity for seniors came about the rise of senior sensitive group activities at health clubs and gyms. For example, many sports clubs offer water classes, which is easy on seniors who have issues with arthritis (CDC 3). There are businesses marketed towards seniors now that there are more of them. One such example I happen to know of is a portable video game made for seniors to play with while idly waiting in a bus, or sitting down at the park with a morning tea. It was created to help maintain the player’s cognitive skills while aging through the many simple yet challenging timed mini-games.

So really things are looking good for the older generations of today, and are constantly growing to be even better for the elderly of the future.