How to Age with Optimism
Having a “glass half full” approach to life has long been considered important for overall wellness. But evidence suggests that there may be truth in this folk wisdom.
Humana recently surveyed 2,000 people aged 60 and over and found that 87 percent of seniors who identify themselves as “most optimistic” reported their health as good to excellent. This is compared to 44 percent for those who said they’re “least optimistic.”
Also, the most optimistic people reported nine fewer physically unhealthy and seven fewer mentally unhealthy days per month than their least optimistic counterparts.
Seniors who rated themselves as most optimistic also reported positively on other attributes linked to health, including sleep, confidence, and overall happiness.
- 91 percent of the most optimistic respondents reported feeling confident in the past week, while only 52 percent of the least optimistic respondents did, a difference of 39 percentage points.
- 90 percent of the most optimistic respondents reported feeling happy in the past week, compared to 44 percent of the least optimistic respondents, a difference of 46 percentage points.
- Only 31 percent of the most optimistic respondents reported getting a restless night’s sleep in the past week, while 62 percent of the least optimistic respondents did, another difference of 31 percentage points.
Despite these impressive numbers, having an optimistic mindset is often easier said than done. The stresses of life, social stereotypes, and one’s natural temperament can all impede approaching aging with optimism.
Dr. Yolangel Hernandez Suarez, Humana vice president and chief medical officer for care delivery, has the following advice for anyone struggling to stay on the sunny side of life:
- Take ownership and recognize that your health is your own. To achieve your best health, you need to set personal goals, just for you.
- Engage with your doctor or other health care professional and build a trusting relationship.
- Find a higher purpose that makes you excited to get up in the morning. Humana’s survey found that the majority of respondents (86 percent) who identify as optimists also rank a sense of purpose as an important attribute for aging.
- Remain socially engaged, not isolated, and nurture close relationships. The importance of social engagement is recognized by the 71 percent of Humana survey respondents who identify as optimists and get together with friends or relatives either monthly or weekly. Further, 80 percent of optimists say maintaining an active social life is an important motivator to stay healthy.
- Stay active and remember that physical activity is important. Find something that’s right for you and that you like to do. Almost all of the most optimistic survey respondents (97 percent) say remaining physically active is a major motivator for retaining good health.
- Practice gratitude and make it a habit to look for and appreciate everything you’re thankful for in life.
Blood Pressure Screenings are November 13 and November 27 at 11 a.m., sponsored by Suffield Community Aid.
FootCare is Tuesday, November 19. Fee is $29. Call to schedule your appointment today!
Hearing Screenings are on November 6.NOVA Hearing Services provides free screenings and services. Call for an appointment.
Cardio Fit with Melanie DeCosmo is on Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays at 10:10 a.m., October 28 through December 13. 18 classes for $63.
Chair Exercise with Melanie DeCosmo is on Wednesdays at 11:20 a.m., walk-in. Only $2/class or donation of a non-perishable food item.
Chair Yoga with Marianne Wolslegel is on Tuesdays, November 5 through December 17 at 1 p.m. Only $35 for 7 classes.
Combo Strength & Yoga with Kathy Matchett is on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:30 p.m., October 29 through December 10 (no class November 22). Only $45 for 12 classes.
Harmonica Mindful Breathing with Lenny Burlingame is on Thursdays at 2 p.m., November 7 through December 19. Only $30 for six classes plus $10 for a harmonica if you would like us to purchase one.
Line Dancing is every Tuesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. $2/class.
Pilates with Yoga with Melanie DeCosmo is on Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays at 9 a.m., October 28 through December 13. Only $63 for 18 classes.
Yoga is Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. with Mary Callendar. November 6 through December 18. Only $70 for 7 classes. Also offered Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. November 9-December 21.
Ask the Attorney
The attorney is available the first Thursday of each month. Please call for an appointment.
Ask John for free computer assistance each Wednesday and Thursday at 9:30 a.m.
Dementia Care Giver Support Group
The group meets on the last Tuesday of the month at 11 a.m. at the Senior Center. Build a support system with people who understand. For more information, call Nicole Matson at 860-810-6123.
Medicare is complicated!
Open Enrollment ends December 7th. Trained volunteers are available to provide unbiased assistance on the first Wednesday each month. Call for an appointment.
This group is for those with early to moderate cognitive loss, their friends, and family. Join us for fun, company, and conversation every second Wednesday and the last Tuesday of each month from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Senior Center. A light lunch is included. RSVP to Pat Beeman, MSW, for participant eligibility and/or more information at 860-668-1986. This program is sponsored by Suffield Community Aid and Home Helpers.
Veterans Coffee Hour
Veterans meet November 22 at 8:30 a.m. This is a great opportunity for veterans to come together, ask questions, share stories, and build relationships.
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