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September is Healthy Aging Month: Taking Charge for a Fulfilling Life

September 20, 2023

MANCHESTER (September 20, 2023) – Every September, we mark Healthy Aging Month, a time dedicated to celebrating the beauty of growing older while emphasizing the importance of taking control of our health. 

The origins of Healthy Aging Month are credited to a television special that inspired people to make lifestyle and dietary changes to prevent heart problems. The show received the American Heart Association’s Howard Blakeslee Award. Many campaigns followed, including the distribution of books, brochures, videotapes, etc.

In 1996, the United States Postal Service (U.S.P.S.) launched the Healthy Aging campaign. A letter-writing contest was initiated with the topic “What’s Your Secret For Healthy Aging?” The goal was to raise awareness about leading a healthy life and to make people recognize the importance of letter writing. The campaign also included television ads, seminars, guides and kits, and prizes.

Healthy Aging Month encourages people of all ages to appreciate the journey of aging while taking proactive steps to ensure their continued well-being. Aging gracefully requires a commitment to personal health. Regardless of age, everyone can play an active role in safeguarding their well-being. This can be accomplished in many ways, including –

  • Maintaining a strong, well-nourished body is fundamental. Engage in regular physical activities such as walking, swimming, or yoga, and prioritize a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
  • Combat loneliness and isolation by nurturing social connections. Seniors can participate in community events, join clubs, or stay connected with loved ones through technology.
  • A sharp mind is crucial for healthy aging. Challenge your brain with puzzles, reading, or learning new skills. Seek professional help when necessary to address mental health concerns.

Skilled Nursing Homes: Providing Holistic Care

Care in a skilled nursing home plays a crucial role in supporting and encouraging healthy aging for residents. Skilled nursing facilities are designed to provide comprehensive care and assistance to older adults who may have complex medical needs or require help with activities of daily living. Here are several ways in which care in a skilled nursing home supports healthy aging:

  1. Medical Care and Monitoring: Skilled nursing homes offer access to healthcare professionals, including nurses, physicians, and therapists. Regular medical check-ups, medication management, and monitoring of chronic conditions help residents stay on top of their health.

  2. Rehabilitation Services: Many skilled nursing homes provide physical, occupational, and speech therapy services. These therapies can help residents regain or maintain their physical and cognitive functions, improving mobility, independence, and overall quality of life.

  3. Nutrition and Dietary Support: Proper nutrition is essential for healthy aging. Skilled nursing facilities typically have registered dietitians who assess residents’ dietary needs and provide balanced meal plans to ensure they receive the necessary nutrients.

  4. Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): Skilled nursing homes offer assistance with ADLs, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and toileting. This support helps residents maintain their personal hygiene and dignity.

  5. Social Engagement: Social isolation can be detrimental to mental and emotional well-being. Skilled nursing facilities often organize social activities, group events, and recreational programs to encourage residents to interact with peers and stay mentally active.

These are only a few examples of how nursing homes can support healthy aging and a return to prior functioning and quality of life. Others include fall prevention and enhanced safety measures, pain management, medication management, emotional and psychological support, continuity of care, specialized care and structured and facilitated family involvement. 

Skilled nursing homes play a pivotal role in promoting healthy aging by providing a range of medical, rehabilitative, social, and emotional support services tailored to the unique needs of older adults. These facilities aim to enhance residents’ overall well-being, independence, and quality of life as they age.