September is Active Aging Month! Westminster Canterbury Richmond has amplified our usual Wellness activities with special opportunities including a Health and Wellness Fair and Walking Wednesdays. Now is the perfect time to consider how you can live life well as you age!
What are your assumptions and attitudes towards aging? Are your beliefs based on how you witness changes in family or friends? Perhaps you’ve been told from a very young age what to expect. If your grandmother had diabetes, do you automatically assume you will have diabetes too? Doesn’t everyone have arthritis when they get old? No, not everyone has arthritis as they age. The truth is you have more control over how you age than you may think. While there may be some genetic links to diseases that get passed on to subsequent generations, it’s not a given. Even if you do inherit a disease, you can lessen the impact on your health through lifestyle choices.
Wellness seems to be the catchphrase of the new millennium. What does wellness mean to you? Westminster Canterbury has embraced Seven Dimensions of Wellness: Social, Emotional, Spiritual, Occupational, Environmental, Intellectual and Physical. Together these create a comprehensive, whole person wellness approach. The Seven Dimensions of Wellness are a guide to help you live a life that is full, meaningful and balanced, by inspiring the mind, nurturing the spirit and strengthening the body. In turn you experience the satisfaction and joy of living WELL Connected (Wellness at Every Level of Life).
Diet and exercise should be at the top of the list, along with a positive attitude and self-discipline – the ability to make good choices regarding your own health and well-being. You are responsible for your health and well-being. While there isn’t a magic pill, you can be proactive by educating yourself, managing your health, working with your clinical partners (physicians, physical therapists, chiropractors), exercising on a regular basis, eating healthy, staying socially connected to your community, and doing all the things you love and keep you engaged in life.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said “The first wealth is health.” This can be a metaphor for how we age. If you’re not paying attention to your health and well-being, suddenly it may slip away. Stay engaged, hold dear to those you love, take care of your health and don’t let anyone tell you’re too old to have fun!