What is Healthy Ageing?
from the World Health Organization
Every person - in every country in the world – should have the opportunity to live a long and healthy life. Yet, the environments in which we live can favour health or be harmful to it. Environments are highly influential on our behaviour, our exposure to health risks (for example air pollution, violence), our access to quality health and social care and the opportunities that ageing brings. Healthy Ageing is about creating the environments and opportunities that enable people to be and do what they value throughout their lives. Everybody can experience Healthy Ageing. Being free of disease or infirmity is not a requirement for Healthy Ageing as many older adults have one or more health conditions that, when well controlled, have little influence on their well being.
Healthy Ageing and functional ability
WHO defines Healthy Ageing “as the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well being in older age”. Functional ability is about having the capabilities that enable all people to be and do what they have reason to value. This includes a person’s ability to:
meet their basic needs;
to learn, grow and make decisions;
to be mobile;
to build and maintain relationships; and
to contribute to society.
Functional ability is made up of the intrinsic capacity of the individual, relevant environmental characteristics and the interaction between them.
Intrinsic capacity comprises all the mental and physical capacities that a person can draw on and includes their ability to walk, think, see, hear and remember. The level of intrinsic capacity is influenced by a number of factors such as the presence of diseases, injuries and age-related changes
Environments include the home, community and broader society, and all the factors within them such as the built environment, people and their relationships, attitudes and values, health and social policies, the systems that support them and the services that they implement. Being able to live in environments that support and maintain your intrinsic capacity and functional ability is key to Healthy Ageing.
FROM THE PROVINCE
The province of BC has embraced the notion of healthy aging. Here are some things from
https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/tn9719 to do to feel you best as you age.
One of the most important things you can do for your health at any age is to be physically active. Physical activity keeps your body strong, and it helps with how you feel. People who stay active are less likely to get depressed. Physical activity can be anything from walking to gardening to working out at the gym. The important thing is to be active almost every day. No matter what your age or condition, there is a type of physical activity that's right for you. Always ask your doctor whether it is safe for you to start a physical activity program.
Your mental and emotional health are also important. Protect or improve your emotional health by staying in touch with friends, family, and the community. People who feel connected to others are more likely to thrive than those who do not. And try to keep stress at a minimum. In addition to getting regular physical activity, you can take charge of how stress affects you by taking 20 minutes a day to just relax.
To protect or improve your memory and mental sharpness, keep your brain active and challenged. Learn or do something new and different. For example, attend an educational workshop or learn a new card game. Depression can be a serious problem for older adults. If you think you may be depressed, seek help—antidepressant medicine and counselling can help treat depression.
Other good health habits can help you stay at your best:
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Avoid salty foods and foods with a lot of fat in them, such as fried foods.
Remember that sexually transmitted infections can affect anyone at any age, so practicing safer sex is a must.
If you smoke, try to quit.
Always wear your seat belt.
Avoid heavy use of alcohol or drugs.