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Health and Wellness

Many factors contribute to healthy aging, including staying physically, mentally, and socially active, and nutritious eating. Retirement communities support healthy aging by offering residents opportunities to connect socially with peers, engage in mentally stimulating activities, and do physical activities that build or maintain endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance. Participation in the arts and volunteering also enhances and enriches the health and well-being of residents in their daily lives.
Regular physical activity helps to prevent chronic disease and promote brain health in older adults in multiple ways. Studies show that moderate-intensity aerobic exercise boosts episodic and short-memory, lifts mood, sharpens thinking, and improves decision-making. Engaging in various kinds of physical activity, including yoga and tai chi, also helps to ease stress and anxiety, increase deep sleep and sleep duration, and relieve chronic pain.
People who feel and see themselves as younger than their chronological age tend to experience better health and longevity. A positive view of aging bolsters brain and heart health, builds psychological resilience and preserves hearing. A youthful outlook is also associated with lower depression and hospitalization risks, fewer aches and pains, and less frailty.
Older adults who do volunteer work to help others, such as mentoring children in need, aiding refugees or addressing climate change enjoy better health and find meaning and purpose in daily life. Doing good through formal or informal volunteering lifts mood, protects the heart, preserves memory, and reduces dementia risk. Volunteering also helps to ease stress, anxiety, and chronic pain, reduce disability risk, and add years to life.
You’re never too old to become a plant parent – no green thumb required, and the health and happiness benefits are many and varied. Check out these plants with purpose, each one offering a specific benefit while also being easy to grow and maintain.
If you‘ve fallen into believing your individual efforts to go green won’t make a difference, think about your grand- and great-grandchildren, and the kind of world they will inherit. Also consider that there are over seven million people over 65 in Canada today*; if every senior were to implement even one of the following eco-friendly suggestions, think of the difference it would make!
Summer is the perfect time to bring nutrient-rich elements of a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet into your daily eating patterns. Consume colourful vegetables and fruits for their many phytonutrients, eat a variety of healthy protein foods, and grill fish for essential fatty acids. Season foods with herbs and spices, and dress salads with olive oil to add flavour and boost heart health, while enjoying chilled soups to keep cool and hydrate.
Health Canada advises older adults get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity each week, in sessions of at least 10 minutes at a time. They also recommend adding bone and muscle-strengthening exercise twice a week,* especially useful for balance and preventing falls.
Headaches affect about half of adults globally and preventive non-drug strategies can be effective in helping to relieve headache pain and improve quality of life. Low-impact exercise, meditation, and other relaxation techniques can prevent or ease headaches by reducing stress and unwinding tight muscles. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, staying hydrated, and avoiding headache triggers can also help to prevent or reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.
Protecting your skin from the sun is essential to prevent skin cancer, the most common of all cancer types. To enjoy outdoor sun safely, wear a wide-brimmed hat and tightly woven clothing, seek shade at peak times and use SPF 30 or higher broad-spectrum sunscreen. Check your skin regularly to detect and treat skin cancer early, avoid indoor tanning, and be aware of medications that can increase sun sensitivity.
A healthy human gut environment, which contains many different types of good bacteria, contributes to better overall health and longer life. Regular exercise, an active social life, and a nutritious diet rich in fibre, probiotics and prebiotics can improve and restore gut health. Better gut health can help to lift mood, sharpen your mind, and boost immunity.
For older adults, a pet can have numerous benefits. Seniors with a pet report they enjoy feeling needed and love the companionship that a dog, cat, bird, fish, or reptile brings. Their pet also makes them feel valued, and even safe. *

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