You may have heard of the phrase “active aging,” but what exactly does that mean? It doesn’t mean you have to be running marathons (unless, of course, you’re a marathon runner). It does mean that you place a priority on your health, in body, mind, and spirit. At Meadowell, it means living your best life, our theme for 2024. Here you’ll find a few tips on how you can incorporate active aging into your own lifestyle.
According to the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), it means fully engaging in life within all seven dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, intellectual/cognitive, physical, professional/vocational, social and spiritual. And at Meadowood, our Meadowell program helps residents do just that. In fact, Meadowood has received the prestigious ICAA/NuStep Pinnacle Award for its commitment to wellness, focusing on all seven dimensions.
So how can you make a commitment to active aging? Let’s start with mobility. Government guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, but you can benefit from even 5 minutes of movement. Of course, if you have a health condition, check with your doctor first. Keeping active can help:
- Lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer
- Increase your strength and balance
- Boost your mood
- Improve your cognitive ability
There’s more to active aging than just staying in motion. There’s also the emotional aspect. Going hand in hand with that are the social and spiritual aspects of wellbeing. Whether you’re married or single, social participation is key. According to Harvard Medical School, a strong social life has been linked to a lowered risk of depression and longer life span.
Meadowood has more than 60 indoor and outdoor groups, clubs and activities, all run by residents. Indoor activities include billiards, table tennis, card and table games, arts and crafts, and Wii bowling. Outdoor activities include bocce, shuffleboard, croquet, putting green, and wellness walks.
While human interaction is beneficial as we age, human-animal interaction (HAI) also can positively impact seniors’ health and wellbeing. An article in Frontiers in Psychiatry lists several areas that can be improved by having a pet or participating in pet therapy: cardiovascular health, depression/anxiety, loneliness/social support, and physical activity.
Meadowood’s equine therapy program, designed for residents with cognitive issues, is extremely popular. And warming the hearts of residents and staff alike is Beacon, Meadowood’s therapy dog. For residents with dogs as pets, there’s even a bark park.
“Ours is a holistic approach to wellness at Meadowood, and it’s in the perfect setting,” says Becky Anhorn, Director of Fitness and Wellness. “Our 135-acre campus includes a nature preserve, great for enjoying the outdoors and providing a real sense of peace and security. We’ve got a smorgasbord of activities for residents to choose from, including over 45 fitness classes a week. We encourage participation at any and every level. Even our McLean Memory Care offers activities such as chair yoga and tai chi.”
Walk around the campus and you’ll see it’s evident that Meadowood takes active aging seriously. A paved walking path winds its way around the campus, which has gardens, a 1,600-square-foot workout room, aerobics studio, two indoor pools, putting green, and more.
Becky is passionate about helping residents pursue a healthy lifestyle. “It’s not just about physical wellbeing,” she emphasizes. “We offer meditation and mindfulness, support groups, special-interest groups, volunteer opportunities, and lifelong learning with lectures, book discussions and so much more.”
The choice is yours. Whatever you activities you choose, you’ll be choosing the path of successful aging and living your best life.To learn more about Meadowell, check out our brochure with details on how our program touches on all seven aspects of active aging.