Most of us may not think about aging until we are face to face with the effects of aging when medical conditions suddenly affect our quality of life and we feel “old”. Mirriam-Webster dictionary’s definition of longevity is a long duration of individual life. What is probably more important is the quality of our life and how long we can hold on to that.
Planning for longevity means that we need to determine what cuts our life short and what protects our ability to live a long life.
In 2016 the average lifespan in the US was 78.69 years compared to Canada 82.30 and United kingdom 80.96 years. From ages 1 to 44, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death—but from 45 to 64, cancer is the leading cause of death, while heart disease causes the most deaths among those aged 65 and over. Planning to minimize our chances of early death starts with preparation just like you do with financial planning for retirement. It is no use to plan financially for retirement if you are physically not planning for retirement and longevity with questionable lifestyle that causes disease and dysfunction and sets us up for a life cut short. So planning for longevity starts at birth and we better hope that our parents, educators and others who influence our life were good role models and set examples.
So here we are, maybe we did not start our lives as well as possible, can we still live long and have a good quality of life? The sooner we start planning for longevity the better the possible outcome.
In one of my presentations ‘Keeping Your Strength, Balance and Mobility for Life’ I discuss the “key to Independence while aging’ which includes:
Avoid getting sick
Adopt healthy lifestyle
Daily physical activity
These same 5 points are also key to longevity with the addition of ‘good genes.’ Genes however are just part of the picture, lifestyle habits over decades are stronger predictors of quality of life and mortality. Even though cancer and heart disease are leading causes of death, what we know is that for most of us it is our lifestyle habits that cause these diseases. The Standard American Diet is sadly and correctly abbreviated as SAD is the leading cause for developing disease. Most chronic medical conditions can be avoided.
A high quality of life and independence is important for many of us. For older adults 65 years and older the #1 reason to lose independence is a fall with injury. CDC states that one out of every four older adults 65 years and older falls annually.
Falls increase with age; 27% of adults 65-74 years of age, and 37% of adults 85 years and older fall annually.
The concern is that these falls threaten the health and independence of older adults and result in high medical costs across the U.S. healthcare system and out of pocket expenses for the older adult or their family.
Across the United States 74 older adults die every day as a result of falls.
When you are an older adult, falls prevention must be Number 1 on your Longevity Planning List of To Do’s. There are many reasons why older adults fall, and most of these reasons for falling are linked to our past and current daily lifestyle habits.
THE GOOD NEWS
Falls aren’t just a normal part of aging—they are preventable.
Screening and effective strategies can save lives and money. At Fitness & Function we work with healthcare providers, and older adults and their caretakers together to reduce these devastating injuries and untimely deaths. We have incorporated fall prevention into our routine training and treatment sessions that includes regular screening and educational materials to reduce falls, and additional check-list to fall-proof the older adult’s environment.
If you are in your 40’s or 50’s, longevity planning possibly have the biggest impact on your health and quality of life as you continue to age. Keeping your strength, stamina, vitality, endurance, agility starts with healthy lifestyle habits such as good nutrition and exercise. You may need to enlist the help of a professional such as a qualified personal trainer and financial planner who can get you on the right track.
If you are an older adult or their caregiver, you need to reduce the risk of falling to provide the best chance for staying independent longer. Pay attention to the following:
• Speak up. Talk to your/their doctor about fall risks and prevention. Tell your/their doctor right away if you/they have fallen, or if you/they’re afraid they might fall, or if you/they feel unsteady.
• Keep moving. Activities that strengthen legs and help balance (resistance training, Tai Chi and specific balance exercises) can help prevent falls.
• Check your/their eyes. Have a vision screening once a year and update glasses as needed.
• Check home safety. Most falls happen at home.
• Get rid of hazards. Keep floors clutter free.
• Remove small rugs or tape down or secure them.
• Add grab bars in the bathroom.
• Have handrails and lights installed on all staircases. and make sure there is plenty of light.
Fitness & Function provides effective In-home exercise training and therapy programs for staying strong, vibrant and independent since 2003. We are instrumental in helping our mature and senior clients regain their functional ability, fitness and their ability to live independently.
We provide Fall Risk Screening in the comfort and privacy of the older adult's home and utilize the CDC recommended STEADI Fall Risk Screening tool to determine fall risk. Balance and mobility assessments are conducted to determine what movements or conditions that can cause these balance problems so that the appropriate exercise program can be designed.
Several of our personal trainers and physical therapists have received advanced training and certification in not just one, but several award-winning evidence-based balance, mobility training, falls prevention and intervention programs that have been endorsed by The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Oregon Health Authority.
FallProof™ Balance and Mobility Training Program
Delay The Disease: The # 1 Parkinson's Exercise Program
Stepping On- 7-Week Small Group Workshop
Tai Chi-Movement for Better Balance
'Stay Well At Home' Program
Fitness & Function is a Vetted Vender with Viva Villages
Fitness & Function is the recipient of the 2019 Best of Portland Awards in the category of Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers