Celebrate National Wellderly Day!
National Wellderly Day is on Monday, March 16 this year, a time to celebrate the health of our senior population and promote healthy initiatives so they can enjoy a longer “health span” rather than simply a “lifespan.” Also known as Well-Elderly Day, this day encourages everyone to take another look at what “old” means to them and take steps to promote a healthier, more positive perspective on aging.
It’s all about seeing beyond the number of years a person has lived, focusing instead on the quality of life they still have left. The health span vs. lifespan mentality: this will make all the difference in your loved one’s life as well as yours as the family caregiver. But it’s also important to recognize that you can’t do it all. Enlisting the help of senior home care is ideal for filling in the gaps.
Improving the Health Span
The World Health Organization defines a person over the age of 65 as being elderly; the United Nations says it’s 60 years old. Whatever the case, that number has certainly changed over the decades. In 1875, elderly translated to 50 years old! Researchers say there is a large difference between the number of years you live (known as your life span) and the number of years you live in optimal health (known as your health span), according to The Huffington Post.
Researchers have been studying women and men aged 85 years and older who are living long lives largely unaffected by chronic disease, with the exception of perhaps arthritis, which is extremely common in those over 70. This age group is known to have a very long “health span.”
What You Can Do
Researchers at the Scripps Translational Science Institute performed an analysis of the genes of 500 disease-free people over the age of 80, revealing that “wellderly” individuals had a lower genetic risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease than those in the general adult population. The same genetic risk of diabetes and cancer was found between both groups.
While more research must be carried out on the topic, some experts speculate that the wellderly group was more highly educated, a factor believed to be connected to long lifespans because of the increased awareness of healthier diets and lifestyles.
So, what can you do as a caregiver to celebrate Wellderly Day in March as well as the whole year through? Here are some tips:
- Support a healthy, balanced diet for your aging parent or other loved one so they can thrive and function.
- Encourage your loved ones to be physically active and exercise at least five days a week. They can go for a walk, do some gardening, or dance. Even seated flexibility will help those suffering from decreased mobility maintain better joint health, function and range of motion, points out Senior Lifestyle.
- Encourage your senior to stay socially active through their place of worship, or to take part in volunteer work, and attend social clubs and organizations based on their hobbies.
- Take a break as the caregiver sometimes. Hire a companion caregiver.
- Support your senior’s mental and emotional health, helping them through tough times.
- Focus on helping your loved ones live the longest and most joyful health span possible.
- Help them nourish their minds and souls; present them with new challenges and opportunities for adventure.
- Encourage them to take good care of themselves. Sure, everyone will have their share of aches and pains, decreasing eyesight and creaky joints. But make sure they stay aware of their mind-body relationship in order to embrace a more positive outlook on life.
Contact Preferred HealthStaff
To learn more about how we enhance the quality of life for the seniors in our charge, please contact us toll free at 866-943-9791 or in Fairfield 717-642-8500. Our Gettysburg home care services go far beyond just memory care, cooking, cleaning and errands. We want to make sure your senior is happy too!