Public Health Is…Active Aging

The number one indicator of longevity is physical activity.  With the percentage of the American population over the age of 60 rapidly growing, it is time to promote activity in older adults.  A public health perspective looks not just at the decisions and actions of an individual person, but also the interpersonal, community, and structural factors that contribute to those actions and decisions.

Photo courtesy of Julie Miller

While it is important to make sure older adults maintain their ability to walk and stay active through age-friendly strength and balance exercises, it is critical to ensure safe spaces are accessible.

Smooth sidewalks, crosswalks with adequate crossing time, street lighting and places to walk all help promote walking. There are groups in major urban areas, like New York City, working to change legislation, as well as innovative environmental and city planning to account for unique needs of senior citizens for living actively. There is also national Complete Streets legislation that aims to transform streets into good pedestrian pathways and bikeways.

In regard to care environments, The Eden Alternative is an organization dedicated to creating habitats for human beings that promote quality of life.  If we want to help the fastest growing group of people in our country (adults over the age of 60) stay healthy we need to facilitate their ability to keep moving!

Active Aging Resources 

2 thoughts on “Public Health Is…Active Aging

  1. This is such a great post – the other day I also completely face planted on the side walk because it was so uneven! I doubt the consequences of my fall would have been too bad but a simple trip or fall like that for an elderly individual could be detrimental and may leave them with very limited mobility leading to a variety of other health concerns. Thus, I am all for transforming the streets into safer places to walk for people of all ages but most importantly the aging population!

  2. I used to have an elderly neighbor and she tripped on this little wooden piece that was protruding from our driveway…..I had tripped on it too and caught myself, she ended up with a bruised hip and a fear of the driveway and walking about in general.

    This is a huge issue.

    Conversely, after a rough hospital stay my grandma just started running each day and her new found love of the high school track has changed everything–her outlook on life, her fitness, and her health.

    It’s a lovely thing to see movement change people’s lives at all ages.

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