Rockville, Maryland ― The number of Americans 65 years and older is growing at an incredible rate, and is expected to reach 19 percent of the population by 2030.1 As the number of people in this group increases, the role of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) grows with it. NIA leads research to understand aging and offers educational resources and tips, such as the following, to help senior citizens, their families and caregivers, and health care providers make smarter decisions about aging.
- Be proactive. Know your risks for conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease―genetics are an important factor in both. Clinical trials are under way to determine if lifestyle changes (e.g., diet, exercise, brain games) could have long-term effects in preventing Alzheimer’s. Learn more about participating in clinical trials to help NIA understand Alzheimer’s at the ADEAR Center.
- Get organized. Keep all important papers and contacts in one place, and make sure that a family member or caregiver knows where to find them. No one plans to get sick, but getting your affairs in order now can save trouble later.
- Stay active. Exercise can help you maintain your strength and fitness to do the things you enjoy, not to mention manage and improve diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis; avoid injury; minimize the need for lifestyle-related medications; and reduce aches and pains. NIA’s Go4Life campaign can help you get started.
- Stay involved. Mental activity is just as important as physical activity. Some studies have shown that taking part in social or educational events, such as volunteering, reading, going to lectures, and playing games, is linked to staying mentally sharp.
“Aging can be difficult, whether it’s you or a family member,” says BLH President and CEO Benjamin L. Harris. “NIA’s research efforts show its dedication to improving health and quality of life for older Americans.”
1"Aging Statistics." Administration on Aging. Available at: http://www.aoa.gov/Aging_Statistics/.
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