Successful aging

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

By Laura MacPhee, Student OT/Monique McElheran RegN

Tri-County Mental Health Services

Although the definition of successful aging can vary between cultures, nations, and generations, according to experts, successful aging is defined as the ability to maintain a low risk of disease, high mental and physical functioning, and active engagement with life.

Many people believe that the ability to maintain these physical and mental factors is out of their control. However, only 30 percent of aging is explained by biology, which means that there are other ways to prevent physical and cognitive decline. The following recommendations are ways to positively influence the aging process, and enhance quality of life in later years.

1. Avoid Disease • Visit your doctor regularly and ask about tests that are right for your age group. • Eat a healthy diet including plenty of veggies, fruits, whole grains, low-fat proteins, calcium, and water. • Exercise and stay fit. Work out at a level that is right for you and include endurance activities, weights, and stretching. • Do not drink too much alcohol (individuals over the age of 65 should not have more than one drink per day). • Do not use tobacco in any form, and if you need help quitting, talk to your doctor.

2. Keep Yourself Safe • Make your home a safe place by keeping walkways uncluttered, and keeping a fire extinguisher and working smoke detectors in the home. • Prevent falls by making sure throw rugs have non-slip backs and bathtubs are slip-proof. • Stay safe in the car by wearing your safety belt properly, not drinking and driving, and not driving when you are angry, upset, sleepy, or ill.

3. Take Care of Your Emotional Health • Keep in touch with family and friends to maintain a social life. • Exercise your mind by reading, doing crosswords, and even taking classes to learn new skills. • Stay involved by joining community activities or volunteering. • Keep a positive attitude by focusing on the good things in life, doing the things that make you happy, and talking to your doctor if you’re feeling sad and not enjoying the things you used to.

4. Plan for Your Future • Keep track of your money by staying informed and asking for help if needed. • Know your own health by making a list of the medical conditions you have, the names of your medicines and when you take them, any allergies, and the names of your doctors. • Make your health care wishes known to your family by filling out an Advance Directives form that lets you state your health care choices or name someone who can make them for you. Make these choices known to your doctor. • Create a transportation plan. If you can’t drive, ask your family and friends if they would give you a ride, and find out about the buses and trains in your area.

For more information or to receive the French version of this article, or to seek professional advice, please call 613-932-9940 or 1-800-465-8061. Free, confidential services are available in French and English to residents of Dundas, Stormont and Glengarry through their offices in Winchester, Cornwall and Alexandria.

Keeping Health in Mind is a monthly newspaper column made possible with the help of Seaway News and the clinical staff of Tri-County Mental Health Services, a community program of the Cornwall Community Hospital/Hôpital Communautaire de Cornwall.

Organizations: Tri-County Mental Health Services, Seaway News, Cornwall Community Hospital/Hôpital Communautaire de Cornwall

Geographic location: Dundas, Winchester, Alexandria

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page