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How Boomers Can Redefine Aging Gracefully

view of cleveland skyline from the flats

From statin drugs to modern cataract surgery, medical advances have added years to people’s lives. With rising numbers of baby boomers joining the ranks of senior citizens, a “silver tsunami” is heading this way.

“Ten thousand people will turn 65 every day for the next 11 years and by 2029, 18 percent of the U.S. population will be 65 or older,” says Cyndie Bender, director of University Hospitals Center for Lifelong Health.

Closer to home, AARP reports Ohio has the sixth oldest population in America, and by 2030 almost one-third of Cuyahoga County residents will be older than age 60.

Specialized Health Services

To get ready, University Hospitals' Center for Lifelong Health is preparing for the impending wave of aging boomers.

“The Center for Lifelong Health offers a variety of specialized health care services, social opportunities and educational programming to help older adults live longer, healthier, happier lives,” Ms. Bender says.

The center's broad range of services are designed to benefit the burgeoning boomer population and include:

  • Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE)
  • Balance recovery
  • Brain Health & Memory Center
  • Connor Integrative Health Network
  • Geriatric services
  • Home care
  • Hospice
  • Inpatient rehabilitation
  • Medical house calls
  • Palliative care
  • Program of All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE)
  • Psychiatry services
  • Senior assessments
  • Senior ER
  • Skilled nursing

“We know members of the baby boomer generation are interested in aging in place or living in a club-like adult community,” she says. “That’s why the UH Center for Lifelong Health is committed to connecting older adults to the right services – at the right place and at the right time.”

For example, one of the Center for Lifelong Health’s adult service programs is the Program of All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE). This program offers medical, nursing, social services and rehabilitative care in a person’s home, which can prevent or delay time spent in a long-term care facility.

To help avert falls, which are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans, the UH Center for Lifelong Health’s balance recovery program provides an evidence-based falls prevention program and offers a list of fall prevention safety tips to help make clients’ homes fall-proof.

Aging Successfully

Ms. Bender believes that staying healthy and being involved in life is an important component to successful aging.

“Boomers aren’t the older adults of our parent’s generation,” she says. “They are independent and self-assured, competitive and goal-oriented. Many boomers are engaged in sports like cycling, swimming, golf or tennis, which helps them stay active and feel youthful.”

And to further ensure boomers realize their potential, they should eat a healthy diet, have regular checkups, not smoke, get adequate sleep and follow an exercise routine.

“To stay fit and agile, boomers should engage in daily activities that will ensure less functional decline,” Ms. Bender says. “Exercises such as squats will increase total body strength. And planks help build strong core muscles. A strong core helps reduce the chance of falling and keeps you out of the hospital.”

To keep active and socially engaged, Bender encourages boomers to sign up for free membership in the Age Well Be Well club.

“It  provides free screenings, support groups, fitness classes and social events,” Bender says. “Whatever you need – whether it's advice when selecting after-hospital care, or a physician specializing in patients aged 65 and older – the UH Center for Lifelong Health can help you age well and be well.”

Cyndie Bender is director of the Center for Lifelong Health in the department of post-acute relations at University Hospitals.

You can request an appointment with a University Hospitals health care provider online.