Seniors can live healthier and longer lives by eating a balanced diet, staying physically active, and maintaining social connections. Self-care and a supportive environment ensure that older people live quality lives.Age-Friendly Environment
A brief released by the Healthy Aging and Wellness Working Group highlights the importance of a supportive environment for seniors. To this end, initiatives, programs, services, and policies can help ensure that older Canadians enjoy a safe and age-friendly environment. Key players in drafting policies and developing, implementing, and assessing measures include long-term care facilities, hospitals, universities, employers, non-governmental organizations, and the federal, provincial, and territorial governments. Such policies help improve social and economic position, examples being age-friendly dining and shopping venues and accessible transportation.
Self-care refers to making healthy choices such as quitting smoking, staying physically active, eating nutritious food, and joining a community organization or centre to maintain social connections.
Staying Physically Active
Moderate physical activity for seniors includes gardening, walking, golf, water aerobics, swimming, and dancing. Depending on age and condition, other examples are aerobic exercise classes, jogging, and bicycle riding. Balance activities are also beneficial and help reduce the risk of falls and injury. Such activities are toe, heel, sideways, and backward walking. Falls prevention is important as it helps preserve mobility and autonomy. Flexibility activities help improve health and include stretching exercises and dancing.
According to experts, exercise not only helps prevent falls but also reduces chronic pain and the risk of dementia and improves sleep quality. It also helps boost immunity.
Eating a balanced diet is also essential to get the needed nutrients and reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions. Healthy eating is important in light of the fact that more and more elderly Canadians are overweight or obese. This is a more serious problem among older and middle-aged men and increases the risk for injuries and chronic and serious conditions. Malnutrition is also a problem that can result in malabsorption of nutrients and chronic diseases.
Maintaining Social Connections
There are different options for seniors to stay connected, including community centres and age-friendly communities. Such centres are found across Canada and in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and elsewhere. Communities offer services and facilities designed to meet the needs of older people, including civic and social participation and community support. Services include medical care, community services, and accessible transportation. Buildings are equipped with accessibility features such as non-slip flooring, ramps for wheelchair users, and accessible washrooms. There are different housing options for seniors to choose from, including family homes, condominiums, independent living, and apartments.
To help stay connected, seniors are welcome to join a variety of activities and events such as gatherings, church and spectator sporting events, and indoor games like cards and bingo.
Active living centres also offer seniors an opportunity to meet new people, socialize, and join different activities. Examples of activities include seminars, arts sessions, travel opportunities, and lifelong learning classes. They also offer fun activities and games such as urban pole walking, shuffleboard, gentle fitness classes, and billiards. Many centres feature facilities that encourage active living, including lending library and gaming and lounge areas. Seniors are welcome to visit, take part in activities, access resources, master new skills, and make connections.