A ‘Top 10’ list for healthy aging

Here’s a list you can pass off to residents and families—or actually anyone needing wellness advice. The American Geriatrics Society’s Foundation for Health in Aging released this tip sheet, “Ten Top Tips for Aging Well,” on its Web site last week.

“…[I]t’s never too late to make changes that can help you live a longer and healthier life,” the foundation writes in its suggestions for those living out their golden years.


The list has a few of the old standbys such as improving nutrition quality, receiving flu shots, and sticking with a trusted healthcare provider. There are, however, some tips that residents of long-term care communities might have difficulty performing.

· “Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol may lower your risks of heart disease and some other illnesses.” Depending on the alcohol policies of each community, elders may not be able to enjoy a toast with dinner. What are the residents saying about your own alcohol policies these days?

· “Conquering your adversary in a complex computer game, joining a discussion club, learning a new language, and engaging in social give-and-take with other people can all help keep your brain sharp, studies suggest.” While social interaction is of course a major concern within the environments of all long-term care communities, the data on brain games and the stimulation they provide to truly sharpen your mind, as the tip sheet suggests, are still inconclusive. I wonder how many communities actually employ and encourage the use of brain game software.

· “Enjoy safe sex.” Sounds like simple enough advice. Unfortunately, the gray area that is intercourse between residents and each other or with significant others from outside the community is still foggy. Eva S. Goldfarb, PhD, a nationally recognized expert in the field of sexuality, gave a presentation on sex in nursing homes at the 44th Annual American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA) Convocation and Exposition last month. “Remember, sex drives don’t disappear, they dissipate,” she said during her presentation. Guidelines for creating a policy on sexual expression for the community can be found here, courtesy of The Hebrew Home for the Aged.

Click here to read the tip sheet in its entirety.

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