By Michele James, Division of Healthy Aging Director
September is Healthy Aging Month, an annual national observance focused on the positive aspects of growing older and taking personal responsibility for one’s health – physically, socially, mentally and financially. There is no getting around the fact that as we age our bodies and mind change, however, there’s a lot you can do to improve your health and longevity and reduce your risk for physical and mental disability as you get older.
Americans are living longer and better than ever before thanks to major medical and public health advances and greater access to health care. Life expectancy at birth in the United States has reached a record high of 78.8 years and many Americans are living up to their 80’s and beyond.
In South Carolina, from 2000 to 2010 the older adult population grew by 32.1%, putting the state in the top ten fastest growing older adult populations. By 2029, it is expected that our state’s population of older adults will exceed 1.1 million, resulting in one of five South Carolinians being over the age of 65.
No matter what your age, making changes and improvements can have a positive effect on how well you age.
Healthy behaviors such as exercising regularly, good nutrition, and getting recommended health screenings can contribute to longer, healthier lives, even if someone has a chronic condition or a disability. The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, Division of Healthy Aging in collaboration with the Lt. Governor’s Office on Aging promote two exercise programs and one chronic disease self-management program:
For more information on these programs, click here.