The United States is experiencing a remarkable increase in the number of people who live to an old age. Our older population (people 65 years or older) numbered nearly 40 million in 2009 (latest year of available data). These folks represent one in every eight Americans, or 13% of the population. By 2030, it is projected that the U.S will be home to more than 72 million people age 65 and older.
This astonishing increase is largely a result of medical and health care advancements that simply allow people to live longer. Currently, the average life expectancy of an American is about 80 years old (nearly double that of our ancestors).
Health is Wealth!
Living a long life is a goal most of us have in common. Ensuring that we spend the latter years of our life feeling healthy and happy should be an important part of that goal.
Health is indeed wealth, especially as we age. Embracing a healthy lifestyle and making health our number one priority will bring invaluable wealth to us as we age.
Although growing older is inevitable, there are many things we can do to avoid feeling older. Medical breakthroughs have and will extend our longevity, but how we decide to live our senior years will be crucial. Managing our physical health, maintaining relationships, following safety tips, and making adequate preparations to fund our retirement and long term care can help us make the most of our so-called 'golden years.'
Below are suggestions for healthy living that will help each of us age successfully.
Stay Connected and Productive
One of the most important things you can do to stay healthy and happy as you age is to maintain your sense of purpose by staying productive and connected to people and things that are important to you. Spend quality time with at least one person (a family member, friend or neighbor) every day. Seek out those who uplift and challenge you. Avoid secluding yourself.
You can also fill your days rendering service to others who are not as fortunate as you. Giving time for a cause beyond yourself brings with it a sense of purpose you can’t achieve anywhere else. Your wealth of wisdom and experience will continue to grow as you reach out to others.
Activities that can help you remain connected and productive include: gardening, cooking, knitting, volunteering at a library or hospital, helping neighbors, visiting museums, traveling, playing cards or games, joining a senior center, starting a book club, taking a class, attending church, or learning and using a social media like Facebook.