Newswise — The world’s fastest growing age group is 80+, according to the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Census Bureau. If you are reading this, there is a very real chance that you will live to be 100, and there is no doubt you want to remain healthy to enjoy those years.
Americans are not only living longer, but (thanks in large part to the baby boomers) they are doing so in massive numbers. Each day more than 10,000 boomers turn 65. Baby-boomers are becoming “geri-boomers, a term coined by Stephen Jones, MD, a board-certified Geriatric Medicine specialist and Director of the Center for Healthy Aging at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut. Dr. Jones points out that when the U.S. government conducted its first census report in 1790, half of the American population was under the age of 16. Less than 2 % (two percent) of the population was 65 or older. In 1900 the average life span was only 47; today it is approaching 80. In 2012 the number of Americans living to age 100 tipped 100,000; by 2050 it will jump to 800,000.
While medical technology helps people survive acute illnesses and conditions like pneumonia and heart attacks, the chronic conditions such as arthritis and dementia often compromise quality of life for people living longer. As the trend continues and the costs of healthcare escalate, it will be families who care for their aging relatives. In fact, according to Dr. Jones, adults are spending more years caring for an aging parent than for their children.
Aging well and staying healthy is of paramount concern for today’s adults. Lifestyle choices become lifetime habits that have a tremendous impact on a person’s future health.
“One of the big things that ages people is stress or the lack of control of stress,” says Dr. Jones. This includes your outlook on life or how you see the world. Jones asks, “When you’re stuck in traffic do you see red, or do you accept what you can’t change and try and make the best of the time?” Dr. Jones says that the one thing you always have control over is your attitude. Keep a sense of humor. Try and see the world as you did when you were a child…through joyful eyes.
Knowing that it’s realistic to live to 100, here are 10 Tips for Healthy Aging from Greenwich Hospital Geriatrician Stephen Jones, MD:
1. Control Stress. Maintain a positive attitude and sense of self-worth.
2. Keep a sense of humor. Laugh!
3. Don’t smoke.
4. Control your blood pressure and get regular checkups. Use medications properly.
5. Maintain good nutrition. Moderation and variety are the keys.
6. Get enough sleep, at least 7-8 hours per night.
7. Stay active. Move!
8. Exercise your brain. The rule “use it or lose it” applies here.
9. Don’t isolate yourself. Companionship keeps you healthy. This may be a partner, good friends or a household pet.
10. Live in the moment and treat each day as a gift…that’s why they call it the “present”
Editor note: Stephen Jones, MD, is available for interviews.
About Greenwich Hospital
Greenwich Hospital is a 206-bed (includes 32 isolettes) community hospital serving lower Fairfield County, Connecticut and Westchester County, New York. It is a major academic affiliate of Yale School of Medicine and a member of the Yale New Haven Health System. Since opening in 1903, Greenwich Hospital has evolved into a progressive medical center and teaching institution representing all medical specialties and offering a wide range of medical, surgical, diagnostic and wellness programs. Greenwich Hospital is a certified Center for Joint Replacement through the Joint Commission, recognized throughout the healthcare industry as the leader in monitoring healthcare standards.