What is active ageing? “Active ageing is the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age. The goal being to extend peoples healthy life expectancies and quality of life as they get older.”
Active ageing does not just mean physical health, but social, religious, civic and economic as well.
I had some experience with active ageing this past week as I just came back from visiting my parents in Florida. Now, although at 60 years old, I consider my parents young, my dad and I took a few minutes to talk about some concerns he had for my mom and him.
First, he was worried about his balance. He has been doing a lot of reading about how balance decreases as one ages. One thing we talked about was trying out some yoga poses. This doesn’t mean running off to try a yoga class that may at first seem intimidating, but we went over a few basic yoga poses (tree pose, warrior I, and down dog) for him to begin working on. He was amazed at how difficult it was to maintain his balance and how tight he felt in his muscles. But after trying these few simple moves a few times, he already felt more confident in the movement patterns, more flexible into the poses and increased his time he could balance. Starting with a slow yoga flow class is a great way to progress these balance challenges and would also lead into increasing his social circle.
The age of individuals in my parents gated community range from 55 – 90 years old. They come from all over the United States and have had so many different careers! One thing my mom and dad started this “summer” is having a monthly pool party. Unlike my parents, (who are completely enjoying their retirement and go to the pool on a daily basis) many of the residents on their street don’t frequent the pool. But these monthly, themed pool parties were a huge hit! Everyone wanted to be a part of it. They were able to socialize and learn about their past experiences over a simple potluck and some water balloons.
My dad also became a part of his homeowner’s association board. He is the treasurer and attends the regular meetings, taking care of the finances for bills for outside home improvement, social functions, etc. This is a great way for my dad to be an active part of the decision making of his community, and keeps his brain working with maintaining the books!
My mom gets together monthly with the “ladies of the neighborhood” as a social gathering, but they also help put together assistance if a neighbor needs someone to look after their house, a spouse is sick, and organizes day trips to see the sites of Florida.
My parents have done an amazing job staying active physically, socially, and developing their sense of community since they have moved full time to Florida. They definitely give me a goal to aspire to!
So there you go….choose a physical activity you have always wanted to try and give it a go. Get together with some neighbors and organize a fun social event in your city. Attend a community board meeting and see how you can make your neighborhood safer….there are plenty of ways to actively age! Have fun!!