Contact: Leslie Beard

[email protected] / 780-952-2033

June 28th, 2021

Seniors Healthy Ageing: The choices we make influence how healthy our older years may be

(Dr. Adrian Wagg, Alberta Health Services (AHS) Chair in Healthy Aging and a Professor at the University of Alberta Department of Medicine produces a webinar each month on topics important to seniors everywhere. These webinars are done in partnership with Optima Living’s Aster Gardens in Sherwood Park, one of the many communities Optima Living operates throughout Alberta.)

(Sherwood Park, Alberta) Seniors have been affected the most during the COVID-19 pandemic. So, a conversation right now about healthy aging, both seniors’ physical and mental wellbeing, seems especially relevant.

Enjoying good health as we age requires we consider many different factors according to Dr. Adrian Wagg, Alberta Health Services (AHS) Chair in Healthy Aging and a Professor at the University of Alberta Department of Medicine. For sure our personal health histories, and any pre-existing conditions do affect the life we can lead, but there’s a lot of research out there that shows the choices we make also influence how healthy our older years may be.

“What the research has revealed,” explains Dr. Wagg, “is that keeping physically fit, socially engaged, intellectually challenged, and making healthy lifestyle choices, all lead to increased life satisfaction and better quality of life. And, ultimately,” he said, “all of that is associated with living longer.” 

Healthy aging and physical activity are strongly linked

For many of us, getting older means being less active than when we were younger. “We do know that even a 30-minute walk per day will improve physical wellbeing, keep us moving and feeling better,” says Dr. Wagg.

He admits not everyone can move easily because of different physician limitations and encourages seniors to do what’s possible to build up strength and stamina.

“The important thing is just to keep moving,” says Dr. Wagg, “and one of the best ways to stay motivated is to find someone to join you. We’re less likely to do an activity and stick with it when we do it on our own.”

Each of us has a role in maintaining our brain health

Not only do our brains thrive on physical exercise, other activities like brain games, and engaging with other people also play a role. “There’s evidence out there that even one intellectually engaging activity each day whether that’s quizzes, puzzles, or online brain training games can help our brains stay healthy,” said Dr. Wagg.

Building a community and quality relationships, even if it’s one or two people, is extremely important for our brain and quality of life. Healthy eating is also good for our brains and in some cases can help reduce the likelihood of certain chronic diseases. 

Last, and something we’ve all heard before -- don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep. 

“At Aster Gardens, like all seniors’ communities that we operate in western Canada,” said Ali Shivji, Optima Living principal, “we believe a key element in ensuring our residents enjoy a high quality of life is through the strong working relationships and connections we establish with recognized leaders and experts in the seniors’ health field.” 

For more information on ways to stay healthy as we age, listen to Dr. Wagg’s brief 11-minute video Achieving Mental and Physical Health.)

For further information: 

Leslie Beard, [email protected]