Active aging and its importance
Thanks to advances in medicine, technology and health care, we can aspire to a higher life expectancy in better conditions. This makes it possible for active aging to be more widespread in society.
WHO promoted the concept of “active aging” in the 1990s. It defined it as the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to improve the quality of life as people age.
Based on this definition, WHO argues that countries will be able to cope with population aging if governments, international organizations and civil society promote active aging policies and programs that improve:
- The health of older people.
- The participation of older people.
- The security of older citizens.
What is active aging?
Active aging is the process that aims to increase the life expectancy of the population by improving the quality of life.
As the population ages, their cognitive functions deteriorate and their bodies experience new limitations, and some people even isolate themselves from society. Active aging seeks to improve the mental, physical, emotional and social state of the elderly.
The term "active" means improving the autonomy, health and productivity of older people and encouraging them to maintain healthy habits to ensure that they live as long as possible, including those who are frail, disabled or in need of assistance.
Promoting active aging is crucial for society as a whole. We all have a commitment to active aging in order to make the elderly play a more relevant role in our society and to ensure the quality of life of the future elderly.
Objectives of active aging
Active aging seeks to enable people to realize their full physical, mental and social potential throughout their lives. This makes it possible for everyone to participate in society, each according to his or her individual needs, wishes and possibilities.
The main objectives of active aging are:
- To enable older people to have more independence, autonomy, participation and dignity.
- To extend the healthy life expectancy and quality of life of all people.
- Encourage the participation of older people in the economic, social, cultural and political spheres.
Keys to promote active aging
The keys to promote active aging encompass various aspects and the elderly must attend to all of them in order to lead as independent a life as possible, allowing them to relate to their environment in a more favorable way.
Physical activity in the elderly contributes to improving their health, well-being and quality of life. Exercises should be adapted to the capabilities, state of health and age of each individual.
Daily physical exercise helps to improve mobility, balance and coordination, among other benefits. The most recommended for older people is aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, dancing...). Likewise, meditation and yoga are also advisable for older adults to prevent cognitive deterioration caused by age and other diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.
Home caregivers encourage the elderly to remain active and dynamic, always taking into account their personal abilities and limitations.
Eating a healthy diet
A healthy diet is essential for good health at any stage of life. In the elderly, it is more than a recommendation it is an obligation.
Healthy eating in the elderly involves increasing the consumption of certain foods (vegetables and fruits) as well as reducing others (such as alcohol or tobacco). Home caregivers help in the preparation of the optimal diet for each elderly person.
Being in contact with nature
Contact with nature and outdoor activities bring great benefits to the health and well-being of the elderly.
Going for a walk and sunbathing will provide vitamin D, so important for our health. Enjoying the beach, the forest or just sitting on a park bench, surrounded by flowers, will help to have peace of mind and to get rid of stress and worries, improving the mental health of the elderly.
Good sleeping habits
It is very common for older people to experience changes in their sleep cycle. This can lead to sleep disorders. To prevent them, it is essential to establish a sleep routine and adopt good sleep habits.
Maintaining social and family relationships
Sometimes, older people think they are a burden to their loved ones and become socially isolated.
If we want to ensure their personal well-being, it is essential to help them maintain good relationships with friends and family and avoid the loneliness that only leads to sadness and depression. Home caregivers help the elderly to maintain and foster their social and family relationships, helping to build confidence, security and greater self-esteem.
Older people have a lot of free time and many do not know how to make the most of it. For this reason, it is highly recommended to participate in activities such as workshops (painting, writing, and reading), language study, computer training, etc.
In this way, they maintain their social relationships, enjoy their free time and exercise their mind and body. Home caregivers contribute to the development of activities during the day for the elderly.
Each person has different needs and a different state of health. It is very important to have an adequate health control to guarantee the quality of life of the elderly and a healthy aging.
Some of them do not pay enough attention to medical advice or do not follow treatment rigorously. Home caregivers are an excellent option to help them in this regard. They will accompany them to medical visits, take note of medical recommendations and help keep track of medication intake or proper application of treatment.
Active aging in this way will improve sleep quality, help maintain a healthy weight, control stress and promote socialization, thus improving the quality of life.
Set your own pace, but always remember to stay active.