Never Too Late - November/December 2023

Healthy Living

Communities Can Encourage Physical Activity Among Adults 65 and Older Less than 1 in 5 US adults 65 and older meet aerobic and muscle-strengthening recommendations, according to a new report from the US Department of Health and Human Services. For people of all ages, physical activity can reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, help maintain a healthy weight, and help manage chronic diseases. Other important benefits for older adults ( ) are reduced risk of falling, more years of independent living, and improved brain health. The new report ( ) highlights strategies for wherever older adults spend time. Communities can help older adults be more physically active by providing: • Connected sidewalks without hazards for walking and rolling. • Safe routes for walking and rolling to everyday destinations including homes, parks, and cultural centers. • Features such as benches, shade, and safe and free drinking water. See page 22 of the new report ( ) for more ideas on how to increase physical activity through policy, systems, and environmental approaches; behavior change; and physical activity programs. Recommended weekly physical activity for adults 65 and older includes: • At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. • 2 days of muscle-strengthening activity. • A mix of physical activities, including those to improve balance. Please see the related infographic on the next page (page 21.) Source:

No More Mr. Lonely: How Sense of Purpose Protects Against Loneliness in Older Adults

By Ajla Basic , Mather Institute, Categories: Aging & Wellness Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis have found evidence that, for older adults, having a sense of purpose in life can act as a barrier against loneliness and its detrimental effects. This is especially relevant when the effects of loneliness are consistently circulating throughout the world, with the U.S. Surgeon General declaring it an epidemic in May 2023. Researchers believe this study helps further the understanding of protective features against loneliness, such as purposefulness, and how that factor might interact with other protective features like social support. In this study, sense of purpose is a perception that you have a guiding direction in life. The researchers used a sample of 2,312 Swiss older adults who had completed measures on sense of purpose, loneliness, received support and provided support. The researchers ran analyses to assess the associations between these various measures and found sense of purpose to be related to social support and linked to lower levels of loneliness. Researchers believe the association between sense of purpose and social support is not surprising, because many activities that provide sense of purpose involve other individuals, which invokes that social support. Researchers believe these nuanced results indicate a clear need for interventions against loneliness to be thoughtfully curated with social activity (i.e., invoking that social support protective feature) and a sense of purpose. Source: Hill, P. L., Olaru, G., & Allemand, M. (2023). Do associations between sense of purpose, social support, and loneliness differ across the adult lifespan? Psychology and Aging. ( )

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Pima Council on Aging

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