Simple steps make healthy aging possible

September 21, 2013

Have you noticed that the numbers in the phone book seem to be getting smaller? Do you find it harder to get down on your knees to look under the bed — and to get up again?

There’s no question that age brings changes to our lives. And yes, some of them we’d prefer to avoid.

For example, stiffening joints can make it harder to get around, and many people find their short-term memory just isn’t what it used to be. Often, difficult personal situations, such as the death of a spouse, can add to the negative changes.

But age can bring positive changes, too. One survey found that many older people say they have less stress and more time for family, interests and hobbies than they used to. In fact, the vast majority of older people report they are satisfied with their lives.

To a great extent, what older age will be like for you depends on how you live now. It also depends on how you cope with the changes that come your way. You can’t turn back time, but you can take steps to help make getting older easier and more pleasant. Here are a few tips:

— Have an active mind and body. Remember the saying “use it or lose it.”

— Be involved. Isolation can contribute to depression and other health problems, so keep connected to family and friends. Social connections can help ensure that you have physical and emotional support for what comes your way.

— Choose a healthy lifestyle. Try to eat well, stay at a healthy weight, get enough rest, quit smoking if you do, do what you can to stay safe and see your doctor regularly.

— If you do not have a primary care provider, consider a physician or mid-level provider at one of SeHealth’s primary care clinics, which are accredited as primary care medical homes by The Joint Commission. For a complete listing, log on to

— Make the most of your spare time. Do things you enjoy and allow yourself some downtime. Too much stress can bring on a host of health problems.

In observance of September as Healthy Aging Month, Dr. Staley Jackson, an orthopedic surgeon with Southeastern Orthopedics, will present a program on healthy aging to PrivilegesPlus members on Tuesday at noon at Village Station, located at 2744 Roberts Ave. in Lumberton. The luncheon event will be “dutch treat,” meaning participants will be expected to pay for their own meals.

People interested in attending the luncheon who are not already PPlus members must be age 50 or older and will need to pay the $10 annual membership fee. All attendees are asked to call 910-671-5018 by Monday to pre-register.

Jackson will also discuss healthy aging on Southeastern Health’s Healthy Connection radio program on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. on WAGR 1340 A.M.

Practice healthy ways to cope. Believe in yourself, and remember: You can handle whatever comes your way.

Amanda Crabtree is the Public Relations coordinator for Southeastern Health. She can be reached at