Since 2003, the first week of every October has been known as Active Aging Week. The annual event marks a weeklong celebration of the aging process and all of the benefits that come with it.
Nearly 17% of the U.S. population, or roughly 55 million people, are currently over the age of 65, and this week marks a time of the year fully dedicated to celebrating those older loved ones in our lives.
What is Active Aging Week?
This October 2nd to October 8th marks the 20th anniversary of the annual health campaign. Founded by the International Council on Active Aging, it specifically calls for us as Americans to celebrate and promote the capabilities of older loved ones.
The ultimate goal of the campaign is to enhance the vitality of our loved ones by doing things such as:
- Encouraging older adults to embrace physical activity and exercises right for active aging
- Highlight the value of social engagement and community involvement
- Promote mental health and mental stimulation
- Celebrate the achievements and contributions that our older loved ones have made to society
How to Celebrate Active Aging Week
With these goals in mind, there are plenty of ways to celebrate active aging week with your family.
1. First and foremost, get up and get moving.
Staying physically active is key to aging gracefully. Find active aging exercise routines that fit your loved one’s lifestyle and capabilities. Look at options such as yoga, swimming or even daily walks. These options don’t eat up too much time in your day and are easy ways to incorporate a bit of movement into your loved one’s daily routine.
2. Try introducing your loved one to new hobbies.
Getting older also comes with having more time to yourself and having more opportunities to try new things. If your loved one has always been interested in a certain topic but never pursued it, then this is the perfect time to encourage them to do so. Try painting, gardening or even learning a new instrument. All of these hobbies can keep someone sharp and help them continue to learn even at an older age.
3. Help your loved one get out and make connections.
Loneliness and isolation are two of the biggest causes of rapid decline in older adults, so it’s critical that we do our best to avoid these outcomes. You can promote social engagement by:
- Organizing opportunities or events that would help you get your loved one out of the house and into an environment with other like-minded people they can connect with.
- Encourage your loved one to attend local rec center-sponsored clubs or meetings, bring them to community events
Go grocery shopping together in order to talk to new people.
- Think about your loved one’s social and recreational interests and see if there are ways to foster engagement that line up with their personality.
4. Another way you can help an older loved one connect with new people is by teaching them how to embrace technology.
We’re all well aware of the social applications of our phones and social media, but some older adults may not understand the full range of tools available to them. You don’t need to bog them down with every detail of social apps, but you can help them learn the ropes and give your loved ones the tools they need to stay in contact with friends and family.
Here are a few easy ways to immerse them in technology:
- Have them take a selfie with you
- See if they can record a short voice memo sharing a moment that they enjoyed in the last week
- Have them text you an emoji that describes how they feel
5. Don’t forget to embrace mental health and mindfulness.
Active and healthy aging isn’t just about staying on the move all the time – it’s about managing overall well-being which includes mental health. Make sure they take the time to relax and reflect on what’s going on in their lives. Don’t let them overwork themselves and instead encourage taking the time to slow down when they need it.
6. It’s a celebration!
Now’s the time to tell a loved one they’re doing well and taking the right steps to take care of themselves. Celebrate their accomplishments and let them know how much you appreciate them.
Get the Word Out and Get Involved
Active Aging Week isn’t only for older adults; it’s an opportunity for the greater community to rally around the older loved ones in their lives and embrace their presence.
This is the time to celebrate the journey of aging and the opportunities that come along with it. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you and share with others when the campaign is and how they can get involved themselves.
SYNERGY HomeCare is committed to doing its part in getting the word out about Active Aging Week and providing extraordinary care to improve the quality of life of all older loved ones.
For more information on how your local SYNERGY HomeCare company can help you and your family, please visit SYNERGY HomeCare’s website or call 877-432-2692.