Did you know that someone born in 1900 had a life expectancy of 49 years? For those born in 2015, their life expectancy is 79 years.

We are seeing more and more centenarians today and as more medical advances and better education about good health and nutrition becomes available, that number will continue to increase.

Statistics show that by 2030, the proportion of the U.S. population aged 65 and older will double to about 71 million or one in every five Americans. The far-reaching implications of the increasing number of older Americans and their growing needs for care puts an even higher demand on the public health education, aging services, and the nation’s health care system in the coming years.

Since lifestyle has been found to be the single most important factor in determining general health, it is important to set and follow healthy lifestyle goals. You continue to hear it from your physician, health care advisors, and educators that eating right and being physically active are important for aging well. There’s a good reason for that – it’s true. Also, emotional wellness plays an important factor in your overall health. The attitude you have toward yourself can affect your emotional well-being.

If you think you are old, you will feel old. The best way to stay sharp through aging is to exercise your brain. Intellectual wellness is very important to maintaining or improving your intellectual wellness. Reading, doing crossword puzzles, or learning a new task or hobby can all be ways to exercise your brain.

Another important way to lead a healthy aging lifestyle is to maintain social wellbeing. As you age, it is important to feel needed, to know you have support in times of need, and to offer support to others.

Volunteering is such a great way to feel needed and also know you are helping someone else less fortunate than you are. Many times you realize just how lucky you are when you have helped a friend or loved one who needs extra care. Also, helping out with a grandchild or great grandchild can brighten up your life with their enthusiasm and energy.

The AARP publishes guidelines for immunizations and screening for those over the age of 50.

To get a complete list of these guidelines, check with your doctor or health care provider.

Ginny Davis is the community relations coordinator for SpiriTrust Lutheran Home Care & Hospice. For more information about services available call 800-840-9081 or visit www.SpiriTrustLutheranHomeCare.org.

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