Healthy eating and physical activity are important at any age, but they can be critical to prevent the development and progression of chronic disease in older adults. Our Healthy Eating for Successful Living in Older Adults™ program helps participants better manage their health through nutrition and activity.
Most program participants have one or more chronic conditions, like diabetes or heart disease. But the program also benefits individuals who have been healthy and active throughout their lives and want to be more proactive about wellness.
Making time for exercise is no easy matter. We’re all occupied with our daily routines, countless activities, and projects that force us to put exercise on the back burner.
But like anything else, those things that take hard work and commitment show the greatest results. Yes, I’m talking about exercise.
It’s one of the things you just have to make a commitment to doing and stick with it. For individuals with a chronic medical condition, exercise is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Just like taking your prescribed medications or sticking to a diet, exercise requires the same degree of commitment.
Gone is the belief that growing older means inevitable and irreversible physical decline. Thanks to aging research, including that conducted in the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife, we now know that not only is physical activity possible at any age, but it is beneficial— from staying heart healthy, to helping prevent falls, to slowing the onslaught of dementia.
I’m always impressed by seniors in our community and their commitment to healthy living. As Orchard Cove’s Vitalize360 coach, I regularly have the opportunity to help residents set and work on personal goals. It’s exciting to witness an 86-year-old woman recover from a hip fracture and commit to improve her physical fitness by taking on new activities such as swimming and Zumba. Sometimes, the goals are not related to fitness. I’ve watched watch a man revitalize his work as an artist at the age of 79 and discover new passions, such as singing in our choral group.
I want to lose weight. I want to be healthier. I want to get in shape. As Orchard Cove’s Vitalize360 Coach, I often hear these goals, especially as the New Year approaches. And while made with positive intentions, they are sometimes flawed in their vagueness.
In several of our evidence-based programs at Hebrew SeniorLife, we use a goal planning system known as SMART, meaning that goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time specific.
If you’ve been following the blog, you may recall that last week I shared the story of Alvin Nigrosh, who underwent physical rehabilitation at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center (HRC) after receiving surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to remove blood clots in his legs. Alvin stayed at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center until he was able to get back on his feet again.
Following emergency surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to remove blood clots in his legs, Alvin Nigrosh came to Hebrew Rehabilitation Center to regain his strength and get back on his feet again with physical rehabilitation. He worked closely with our doctors and physical therapists to get moving. Before his surgery, Alvin was very physically active so getting up and moving again was a goal he took seriously! With the encouragement of our specialists, Alvin was able to recover from his surgery and walk blood-clot (and pain) free.
While many retirement communities only provide regular exercise classes and fitness equipment, the Vitalize360 program at Orchard Cove goes further by providing individualized fitness programs for its residents. This groundbreaking approach—featured in a recent issue of the New York Times—takes the guesswork out of senior health and fitness and provides many benefits.