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Lincoln – Healthy Aging Month is recognized in September and celebrates the positive aspects of growing older while bringing awareness to the physical and mental needs that change throughout life. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) encourages every Nebraskan to take a proactive approach to aging by adopting healthy habits and behaviors, attending regularly scheduled checkups with your healthcare provider, and taking steps to stay connected in your community.
“Nebraskans need to be conscious of their physical and mental health, diet, social skills, and even financial situations. All of these factors contribute to successful and healthy aging," said Tony Green, the Director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities at DHHS. “It is never too late to make positive changes in your life. Even small changes can have an impact on your overall health and well-being. Focusing on your health and wellness will lead to a longer, happier, and better-quality life."
Here are a few helpful tips to motivate yourself or a loved one to make small daily changes to stay healthy.
Maintain A Healthy Diet: Dietary needs can change throughout life. A well-balanced diet is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. Try to stay away from foods that are processed, high in cholesterol, fat, and those that contain artificial ingredients.
Stay Active: Keep your body moving to prevent or manage health concerns, improve balance and stamina, reduce the risk of falling, and improve brain health.
Daily walks are a great option for low-impact exercise. People looking for more moderate physical activity might consider tennis, swimming, or yoga. When planning on taking up a new activity, start slow, know your limitations, and modify them if necessary. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen.
Be Social: Spend time with friends and family, or join a local community group. Many groups host events or activities that can lead to creating friendships. Try something new, or rekindle an old hobby.
If you can no longer drive, reach out to local transportation services that can help you get out of the house and attend social events. Facetime is a great tool for staying in touch with friends and family.
Regular Checkups: Make routine visits to your healthcare provider for regular health screenings. This can help catch health concerns early and help patients reduce risk factors for disease. Take vitamins, supplements, and medications as prescribed.
Keep Your Mind Active: Read the newspaper, a magazine, or a book while eating meals or spending time outside. Puzzles, creative hobbies, or projects are beneficial in ensuring your mind is active and engaged.
Remember to stay positive and do things that make you happy. A cheerful attitude can be very impactful in maintaining a healthy mind.
Remember: Throughout life, it is important to adapt to the changes while also acknowledging the positive aspects of aging. It is never too early or too late to make changes to improve your health and well-being. Even making small adjustments to your daily life can help you live a longer and better life. Whether you pick up a new hobby or sport, make changes to your diet, or arrange time to travel more, taking charge of your health can be very impactful long term.
If you need guidance or support about healthy aging, contact your doctor, or call a Nebraska Aging and Disability Resource Center (844-843-6364) in your area.