Healthy Aging: Stay Involved, Be Positive and Know Your Neighbors

Healthy Aging:

Stay Involved, Be Positive and Know Your Neighbors

By Jim Concotelli, Brookdale Senior Living, North Dallas LIVING WELL Magazine

Whether it’s listening to an iPod, surfing the web or keeping up with the news, staying involved and in tune with the times may help people live a longer life. That’s some of the advice from a poll of older adults who were questioned about the secrets of longevity. Being positive and socializing are additional attributes touted as important factors for a long and healthy life.

Although there is some decline biologically throughout our lifetime, we continue to grow and develop socially, emotionally and intellectually. Dr. Helen Kerschner, executive director of the Center on Aging at the University of New Mexico, and her colleagues conducted focus groups with people of all ages and asked them what they considered to be the keys to healthy aging. “The study was all about measuring quality of life and trying to understand what are the key drivers for successful aging,” says Kerschner.

The key factors were categorized in three broad groups: involvement, positive mental attitude and relationships. Involvement was described as being engaged in daily recreational activities. Both physical and mental activity was listed as important. If you enjoy a specific type of exercise or a certain intellectual pursuit, you are more likely to continue to stay involved. Maintaining a positive mental attitude focused on an ability to laugh, being hopeful and looking forward to the future.

Having mutually beneficial and respectful relationships with family, friends and individuals in the community was also very important. Maintaining social interactions and being able to converse about current events contributes to your overall social wellbeing and was strongly linked to successful aging.

If you are looking to add quality of life to your years, focus on some of the key factors from this study. Keep yourself active and involved with fun and meaningful pursuits, look for the positive in all situations, find time for reflection on the good things in your life and stay in touch with old friends, while taking time to make new ones. Following these key lifestyle factors might just add years to your life and more importantly, life to your years.

Brookdale Senior Living is the largest owner and operator of senior living communities in the United States and is a leading national provider of senior-related services. Brookdale operates 645 assisted living and retirement communities in 33 states.

Jim Concotelli, MSW, Ph.D., is Brookdale Senior Living’s Senior Director of Optimum Life®. To learn more about healthy aging or one of our locations located in Dallas/Ft.Worth, contact a community near you or visit