Successful Aging refers to physical, mental and social well-being in older age. A crucial component of successful aging is maintaining one’s independence. The Live Well San Diego Expanded Indicator Self-Care Difficulty measures the percent of the population who have difficulty caring for themselves.
Loss of independence is a major concern among seniors as they cope with a variety of setbacks - physical, social or emotional – that may, over time, affect their ability to perform activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, toileting and transferring.
Some best practices for successful aging and improved health outcomes include:
Maintaining regular physical activity is one of the best things a senior can do to keep physically strong so they can continue regular tasks and not become dependent on others. Exercise improves strength and balance which helps to reduce the risk of falls and improve mobility, enabling older people to preserve their independence and participation in activities of daily living.
A healthy well-balanced diet is essential for good health and longevity. As nutrition needs change with age, a doctor or qualified nutritionist can help seniors make dietary adjustments to meet individual nutritional needs.
Preventive care is an effective strategy for reducing or eliminating risk factors for many common chronic conditions. Information and guidance from a healthcare provider can help adults make healthy lifestyle decisions to improve quality of life.
Finally, cognitive and social stimulation are important for maintaining a sharp and active mind. Research has found that seniors with more frequent social activity maintained lower levels of disability in several areas, suggesting that they would be able to live independently longer than their less social counterparts.
Although loss of independence is a common experience as people age, keeping seniors physically, mentally and emotionally engaged can help them to stay healthier and live independently longer.
Stay tuned as information about each Live Well San Diego Indicator will be highlighted each month. Learn more about the indicators here.