Aging Successfully

What do five people ages 80, 86, 92, 93, and 94 all have in common? Read on to find out.

Successful aging refers to the physical, mental, and social-well being in older age.  It can also be defined as absence of chronic disease and risk factors for disease, good health, and high levels of independent physical functioning, performance, mobility, and cognitive function.

So what does this mean? People who age successfully are resilient and motivated. They are able to deal with factors out of their control. They may have been dealt a bad hand, but they are optimistic and roll with the punches.  For example, a person who is diagnosed with Parkinson’s embraces the things they can do and works hard to overcome the difficult obstacles. They accept the diagnosis, but do not give in to it. They optimize their physical and mental abilities to be able to move on.

Successful aging also includes certain controllable factors such as eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, limiting alcohol consumption, and not smoking. I know what you are thinking, “Yikes I don’t get enough sleep” or “ I have been wanting to change my diet”, well it is never too late to start and now you have extra reason to stick to it.

Social well-being is a very important factor in aging and being happy as we enter our golden years. Staying active with family, friends, and in the community gives a sense of belonging and self worth. It can take effort, but the benefits will come back to you ten fold. We all want to feel needed and to have a purpose. Being active socially can help with these feelings.

Physical well-being includes keeping the mind and body strong. It is crucial to actively use your mind. Playing bridge and doing puzzles are known to help the synapses’ connect. But did you know exercises also make your brain turn on?  Physical activities can include a simple walk, gym exercises, swimming, and exercises to strengthen your arms, legs, and core muscles.  Balance training to decrease the risk of falls can also be included. Being active and staying strong builds self-confidence in your physical and mental abilities.  By staying active a person has a far greater chance of maintaining independence in living, mobility, and activities of daily living.

Physical therapy is a great asset when it comes to working on your physical, mental and social well-being. It offers programs to build strength and improve balance. Therapists can help problem-solve issues that may be limiting your independence.  It also provides balance training to decrease your risk of falls. Coming to a local therapist’s office also offers socialization.  Many clinics are full of people in your same situation.  It becomes a social outing when you meet new people and connect with others you met on a previous visit. And it can be FUN!

So what do these five people have in common?  They are all patients at an outpatient physical therapy clinic. They are all wonderfully young seniors working on strength, balance, and endurance so they can continue to drive, live independently, and avoid falls. The clinic is a community.  The seniors are an important part of that community.  While they are getting the physical activities, they are also receiving the mental and social stimuli needed to age successfully and continue their zest for life. Would you benefit from physical therapy? If so, make a call to Team IPT now at 619.260.0750 and schedule an evaluation today.