February has been designated as National Senior Independence Month. For many of us the definition of being a senior is somewhat blurry. Depending on where you look and who you ask, any person age 50 (AARP) and older classifies you a senior. This is, in my opinion, a huge generalization and leads to many misconceptions and errors when assessing needs of seniors.
I know many people who are seniors at age 50 and others in their 90’s could be looked at as a 65+ baby boomer. Whatever the definition professionals give for being a senior, it is imperative that we treat each person individually and allow them the opportunity to have as much independence they need and want. By cultivating a nurturing opportunity, ‘seniors’ of all ages can maintain their choice of lifestyle.
Maintaining an independent lifestyle involves taking care of ourselves by eating healthy and well, receiving and heeding proper medical advice as well as staying physically and mentally fit. So how can we do these things ourselves or help our older loved ones to stay as independent for as long as possible? Working to maintain our H.E.A.L.T.H. by;
- H – Have a clean bill of health and maintain it by regular monitoring our physical and mental health with health professionals. Avoid self-diagnosis and putting off following up on ailments and medical complaints. Properly take prescribed medications as they are directed.
- E – Ensure that your daily living environment is safe and healthy. Avoid overcrowded and unsafe conditions either in your home or in other places you work or visit on a regular basis.
- A – Activity is important. Be as active as you possibly can. The adage of “use it or lose it” is what we need to practice. Learn something new! Take up dancing, Zumba, learn a foreign language, or travel.
- L – Live in the moment as much as possible. There is so much happening in our world today — we need to embrace it and learn.
- T – Tirelessly and actively pursue all alternatives for enjoyment of your independent life style.
- H – Find the humor in your life and enjoy laughing as often as possible.
So whether you are 50 or 90+, you could be considered a senior, but the common sense H.E.A.L.T.H. suggestions could keep you independent and vital for a very long time to come.