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Active Aging: A Policy Framework

by ICAA November 23, 2011

The concept of active aging was adopted by the World Health Organization in the late 1990s. Today, active aging provides a conceptual framework for governments, communities and corporations to plan and implement multi-dimsensional strategies to improve the quality of life for older adults. Individuals can also improve their quality of life by being engaged in life as fully as possible throughout the life span. Accomplishing this requires that an individual be physically active, cognitively and socially engaged, occupationally or vocationally involved, and emotionally and spiritually healthy.

Dimensions of Active Aging

Physical health means choosing lifestyle habits that maintain or improve your health and functional ability. Things people can do to enhance their physical health include: exercising, eating a proper diet, playing sports, sleeping regularly, caring for self, and not using alcohol, drugs and tobacco.

Cognitive/intellectual health means engaging in creative pursuits and intellectually stimulating activities, as well as problem solving and reasoning. Activities one can participate in to improve intellectual/cognitive health include: brain fitness classes and workshops, cultural activities, arts and crafts, journaling, games or puzzles, and reading.

Emotional health means managing and directing one's feelings, coping with challenges, and behaving in trustworthy and respectful ways. Things one can do to improve emotional health include: practicing stress management, embracing humor and laughter, and writing or talking about his or her personal hisotory.

Social health means interacting with others for mutual benefit, as well as awareness of and participation in the larger community. Things once can do to improve social health include: joining a club, volunteering, dancing, visiting friends and family, doing group and intergenerational activities, and traveling with a group.

Spiritual health means living with a meaning or purpose in life, and exploring beliefs and values that create personal peace and understanding. Things one can do to enhance spiritual health include: group and/or individual faith-based activities, personal meditation or reflection, mindful exercise (e.g. yoga, tai chi), and experiencing nature.

Occupational/vocational health means maintaining or improving skills, abilities and attitudes that help individuals stay productive and satisfied with the work they do. Things one can do to to enhance their professional or vocational health include: paid work, volunteering, skill-building classes, mentoring, tutoring, starting a hobby, and caregiving.

Active Aging - An Appealing Future for All

The financial cost associated with a disengaged older population is immense. The financial rewards for an engaged older population are significant. To ensure that engagement is created...

...governments will need to create and support policies, funding, and tax breaks for organizations, communities and businesses that create and deliver engaging active aging programs.

...businesses will need to train, retrain, and retain a greater number of their workforce by providing engaging active aging programs.

...communities will need to provide settings and supportive organizations that will provide engaging active aging opportunities and environments.

...families will need to embrace the concept of active aging to create greater emotional and social ties with their loved ones, and to help them improve their quality of life.

...individuals will need to decide if being engaged in life as fully as possible throughout the lifespan is a lifestyle choice they wish to embrace in achieving quality of life.

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Older adults | Policy


11/28/2011 2:50:16 PM #

I believe that this excellent blog post accurately reviews ways for older people to stay healthy. However, I feel that America does not have a great enough emphasis on healthy adults. While I do understand the need to keep children healthy, I do not understand the overall lack of adult health awareness. This post mentions the cost of adults not being healthy and I completely agree. In my opinion, the most important section of this post states that “governments will need to create and support policies, funding, and tax breaks for organizations, communities and businesses that create and deliver engaging active aging programs”. If governments better support active aging, the people will better actively age. And if the people better actively age, the whole nation will reap the benefits. I believe that Congress must do better job in developing policies that support active aging. Overall, if we stride towards healthier, active aging, our nation’s youth will follow, therefore leading to a healthier country as a whole.

Indiana5000 United States |

12/2/2011 9:14:20 AM #

This is a good post, this gives me more information. Even in my young age, I can also apply this knowledge. Thanks for the post. Smile

Terry Zeta Philippines |

1/11/2012 1:44:13 PM #

so this means that people should be mentally active, physically active and spiritually to so they would be active aging.

R you happy i didn't tell you! United States |

1/11/2012 3:02:07 PM #

as you get older you need to stay active so you can be strong and fit and not have to be in a wheelchair because of your arthritis or many other diseases in the world that old people have.

Michael cuevas United States |

2/18/2013 1:14:29 AM #

this is a wonderful post. I appreciate it. Yoga is a good meditation. It's fresh our health.
please visit this site..
(Link Removed) (Link Removed) Power Yoga

Prana Power Yoga Hong Kong S.A.R. |

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