Healthy Aging for Life
by Virginia Dakiniewich
Aging has a wonderful beauty and we should have respect for that. —Eartha Kitt
Each of us is aging; growing older is an inevitable process that happens to everyone. Canadians are aging faster than ever before with the proportion of seniors in the Canadian population expected to double by 2025. (Health Canada, 2014) Canadians are also living longer and experience fewer disabilities than previous generations. Older adults are incredibly diverse with respect to age, income, levels of independence, family circumstances, and ethnocultural backgrounds. Despite negative portrayals in the media and popular culture, aging can be a wonderful time of self-discovery, independence, and freedom. By maintaining physical, mental, and social health, growing older can be a positive life experience.
Healthy aging is the process of sustaining overall health for as long as possible. The health care system focuses on the cure rather than prevention. Taking steps to stay healthy as you grow older can mitigate or delay physical problems and disabilities in later life. This can save health care costs and reduce long-term care needs.
Six Tips to practice healthy aging:
- Eat healthy foods
- Get more exercise
- Avoid smoking
- Stay socially connected to family and friends
- Reduce risk of falls
- Think POSITIVE—enjoy life and all it has to offer!
For some older adults there can be environmental or social barriers to adopting healthy aging behaviours. The Saskatoon Council on Aging [SCOA] offers an array of activities to assist older adults to support health and well-being. Many of our activities are free of charge.
Keep fit. Join the SCOA Globe Walk: The Globe Walk is free—you will stay active and work with a team to achieve an awesome goal. Challenge yourself and others to participate in a fun winter exercise routine.
We have set our first goal for 2019: to break the two million mile mark! Over five years, Globe Walkers have logged about 1,854,000 miles. It runs January through April 2019. Phone Beth, Globe Walk Coordinator, 306-652-0027 or visit scoaglobewalk.net.
Give your brain a workout with lifelong learning. Try to learn something new every day and observe the world around you.
• Older Adults Life Skills Workshop: What seniors need to know. Learn about government programs with Service Canada and legal information with CLASSIC. 1:00 pm–3:00 pm on Thursday, November 1. $10 registration fee (snacks and coffee provided). To register call SCOA at 306-652-2255. Please note that the registration fee is charged solely by SCOA as a registration fee. Information on Government of Canada services and Classic is free.
• Technology Workshops
Apple Technology—Beginner one-on-one sessions for iPhone or iPad [cost $40] or learn advanced topics including updates to the OS 12 Apple operating system and iPhone/iPad photography. [Cost $15]
Seniors’ Tech Buddy—Technology across generations: learn to use your tablet, laptop, or phone. Receive one-on-one tips from students from local high schools. [Cost $10 registration fee]
• Seniors’ Neighbourhood Hub Clubs—have fun and meet new people! Three locations citywide! Free to attend. Mayfair Hub Club, Eastview Hub Club, and Saskatoon Open Door Society Hub Club. Enjoy monthly get-togethers with entertainment, presentations, blood pressure checks, games, and other fun activities. The Seniors’ Neighbourhood Hub Clubs reduce isolation and promote social opportunities to support well-being for older adults. Visit scoa.ca or phone SCOA 306-652-2255 for details.
• Spotlight on Seniors: A showcase featuring a day of fun, learning, entertainment, and socializing for older adults—October 10, TCU Place , 9:00 am–3:00 pm. Cost $10, pay at door.
For older adults to remain independent and age in place, a preventive approach to health is important. Research indicates that healthy habits and social connections are crucial factors that contribute to healthy aging. According to the World Health Organization, a healthy aging approach means that every person in the world should have the opportunity to live a long and healthy life. Healthy aging is about creating the environments and opportunities that enable people to be and do what they value throughout their lives. (World Health Organization, 2018) Society is slowly advancing to a time where getting older does not automatically mean decline and disability. With a healthy approach to aging, older adults can live vibrant, active lives and continue to contribute their skills, knowledge, and experience to society for years to come.
Age fast, age slow ~ it’s up to you. —Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH
To register for classes and programs or for further information, phone (306) 652-2255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit scoa.ca for more information, find us on Facebook @scoa25, and follow us on Twitter @scoa3.
The Saskatoon Council on Aging (SCOA) is a community leader in the promotion of dignity, health, and independence of older adults through programs, services, education, and awareness. Visit our website at www.scoa.ca.
Health Canada (November 5, 2014). Seniors. Retrieved from www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/healthy-living/seniors.html.
World Health Organization (2018). What is Healthy Aging? Retrieved from www.who.int/ageing/healthy-ageing/en/.
Virginia Dakiniewich is the Fund Development and Communications Coordinator for the Saskatoon Council on Aging [SCOA]. She coordinates communication activities for SCOA including print and digital campaigns, websites, and social media. She anticipates many exciting initiatives as technology provides new opportunities for SCOA to tell our stories to the community.