Health & Wellness

Physical activity, mental wellness, and nutrition are essential to healthy aging, functionality, and the ability to remain at home in the community. As people age, their functioning may be diminished if illness, chronic disease or injury limits physical and/or mental abilities.

For seniors, healthy eating can help increase mental acuteness, resistance to illness and disease, energy levels, immune system strength, recuperation speed, and the effectiveness of chronic health problem management. However, many older adults may struggle to get to the local grocery store or to find quality foods in their neighborhood.

Physical activity, especially the recommended 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week, can also prevent or delay disease, help treat chronic conditions, manage stress, and improve mood. A lack of physical activity can lead to more visits to the doctor, more hospitalizations, and more use of medicines for a variety of illnesses. Physical activity includes structured exercise, like tai chi or aerobics, but also includes everyday activities like gardening, walking the dog and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Changes in functional limitation rates have important implications for the social well-being of the older population, health and long-term care needs, and work and retirement policies. Case studies in this section explore how communities are engaging older adults in structured and unstructured activities and providing innovative services to keep our older residents engaged in their communities and living active, healthy lifestyles.

Case Studies
Active Aging: Community Gardens and Senior Health 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia Corporation on Aging connects seniors with gardening programs to keep them active and engaged.
*This case study is cross-posted under Planning and Community Engagment.

Promoting Physical Activity: Síclovía, an Open Streets Festival
San Antonio, Texas
To make a splash in the community, the Alamo Area Age Well Live Well program partnered with the YMCA to help older adults enjoy walking, cycling and all types of fun.
*This case study is cross-posted under Mobility & Access.

Supportive Housing: WellElder Program
San Francisco Bay Area, California
WellElder is a supportive service program helping older residents in federally-subsidized housing stay healthy in their affordable homes.
*This case study is cross-posted under Housing