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By Helen Varvi, Deputy Director 

Among other observations, September is also recognized as Healthy Aging Month. It is a national observance created by the Healthy Aging organization designed to bring attention to the importance of healthy lifestyles for all adults, not just senior citizens – whoever they are! The observance began over 25 years ago, and is still very relevant today. There probably have never been so many changes and challenges faced by older adults than what they have experienced over the past half year – which seems like an eternity.

If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that it is now more critical than ever for older adults to embrace healthy living, to exhibit a positive attitude, to live life to the fullest and to recognize the importance of family, friends and social relationships.

Getting older is not something people usually want to celebrate, but attitudes toward aging have changed over the years. No one wants to be called "old". Certainly not the baby boomers, or even the generations before and after, that's for sure. It used to be that anyone over 50 was considered out of touch and ready to be put out to pasture! Well those myths are easily shattered by the depictions of older adults we see today.

Each generation is proving that many older adults are vibrant, passionate, and not the image of old age at all. From the Greatest Generation (those now over 93), the Silent Generation (those between 75 and 92), and Baby Boomers (56 to 74) to Gen-Xers (40 to 55), there are pioneers of aging determined to remain vital and healthy.

But healthy aging doesn't come without some effort. Why make a commitment to good health this month? Especially since for months we have been living under the dark cloud of COVID-19. We have heard that this virus has been particularly troublesome for older adults. But according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. And many of these underlying conditions can be mitigated by making healthier lifestyle changes.

So, let's look at this September as a fresh start, a new page and take stock of your current lifestyle and make a real commitment to set some healthy goals. And now, more than ever, it is important to have a positive outlook. Not only during Healthy Aging Month, but as we continue to grow and move forward.

Image credit: Anna Shvets from Pexels