Healthy aging month has been celebrated for the past 30 years. It was established by Christine Worthington, president of the Educational Television Network with the purpose to promote the idea that people over the age of 45 should take personal responsibility for their health and well-being. This as it relates to their physical, social, emotional and financial lifestyle. Irrespective of religious affiliation or belief, I would add spiritually. The resolution to declare September National Healthy Aging Month was unanimously passed by the U.S. Senate in 2021.
In consideration of a planet increasing in age, December 2020 found the United Nations General Assembly declaring a global initiative for the years 2021-2030 as the decade of healthy aging. It recognized that the increasing age of all countries would impact all aspects of society. The World Health Organization, spearheading this initiative intended to “bring together governments, civil society, international agencies, professionals, academia, the media and the private sector for ten years of concerted, catalytic and collaborative action to improve the lives of older people, their families and the communities in which they live.”
The global community of national and local governments signed on as stakeholders who agreed with the premise that “no one should be left behind and that every person shall be able to fulfill their potential in dignity, equality and in a healthy environment.”
One of the leaders in this initiative is the United Kingdom Network of Age-friendly Communities where local leadership worked collaboratively to fulfill this vision. In 2012, supported by the Centre for Ageing Better, the network brought together local level government, citizens and network members who committed to becoming age-friendly communities.
To date the network consists of over 40 cities, towns, districts and counties which are linked to the World Health Organization’s global network of over 1,000 communities...
“When we started September is Healthy Aging® Month back in the 90s, not many people really wanted to talk about growing older. Not that we do now, but the focus is loud and clear that there are many ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle well into later years,” Worthington said. “Aging is no longer a taboo subject. It’s almost become trendy to be an active older adult.”’
Healthy lifestyles can increase life expectancy. Women age 65 years and above may add at least 3 years to their life span by adopting a healthy lifestyle and men 6 years. In addition, adopting a healthy lifestyle may mean that a person may live fewer years with the cognitive decline associated with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.
Recent research from the Pritikin Longevity Center found that adults who adopted healthy lifestyle habits in their twenties were more likely to have a healthy heart in their forties.
They report results from a study conducted by scientists at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine which looked at five parameters impacting health and well-being:
· alcohol intake
· physical activity
· a Pritikin type diet: low fat, high plant based foods and fiber-rich grains and nutrient-rich sources of potassium, calcium, etc.
They found that in the U.S., as we advance in years, our tendency is to become more sedentary, overweight, increase usage of alcohol, and what we call junk foods. It’s no secret that the American diet can be described as consisting of fats, fried and oversized portions.
The lack of commitment to a healthy lifestyle has impacted U.S. medical care spending.
According to the WSJ, National health care spending was projected to increase 4.2% to $4.3 trillion in 2021, while other sources predicted a growth to 4.8%, reported as a faster growth than the economy at 4.0%
CMS.gov 2021 reported that National health spending is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 5.4 percent from 2019 to 2028, reaching a whopping $6.2 trillion by 2028. According to the cms.gov National Health Expenditure Fact Sheet, Medicarespending grew 3.5% to $829.5 billion in 2020, or 20 percent of total National Health Expenditure.
The total estimated 2017 cost of diagnosed diabetes of $327 billion includes $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in reduced productivity.
As reported in SWNS digital, A survey spearheaded by the global company Medifast, a foundation of a health and wellness community, surveyed 2,000 adults. the results found that most adults have attempted five different approaches to dieting but that 79% reverted to previous eating habits or gave up entirely. This, despite the fact that, reasons for dieting were, as one would expect, feeling good mentally and physically, shedding weight, boosting their energy and immune systems. Besides the most readily identifiable lifestyle factors that contribute to health and well-being like eating, lifestyle, movement and social involvement, many people do not realize the importance of sleep, hydration, and mental health as pillars of a healthy lifestyle.
Furthermore, while many people think that they can adopt healthier lifestyle habits, many more believe it would be challenging. Social connections and supportive relationships on this journey can be a valuable ingredient to success.
While most older adults don’t think about or consider that they will be in a nursing home, and actually dread the idea, the fact remains that approximately 40% of adult Medicare beneficiaries will spend at least some time in a nursing home and according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 10,000 people per day turning 65 between now and 2034 and there are now 100 million adults over the age of 50. Therefore, adoption of healthy lifestyle habits may go a long way to delaying or even preventing transition to a nursing home environment.
In closing, one could make the case that a commitment to health and well-being can be an important statement of both personal and civic responsibility.
So the question is: Are you the CEO of Your own Well-Being?
The Wellness CEO – by Phyllis Ayman
Your health is YOUR business.
Are you the keeper of your well-being?
It’s NEVER too late.
The place to begin is within,
The time to begin is NOW!
Your Health is Your BUSINESS!
You are the CEO of your well-being.
If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter, but
If you mind, make it MATTER!
The Place to Begin is Within, The Time to Begin is NOW!!!!!
Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life!
Feel Fab…Look Fab….Be FAB – U- Lous YOU!!!!
and most importantly…….
AGE MAGNIFICENTLY! (click link to find out how)
To read Phyllis Ayman's latest chapter as coauthor in the USA Today and
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