Be Well, Live Well – An Informative and Practical Program Targeted At People Age 55 and Older

Johanna Hicks

By Johanna Hicks, Texas AgriLife Extension Agent/Family and Community Health Agent for Hopkins County, [email protected]

You probably know by now that Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in Hopkins County offers many learning opportunities. Most recently, a basic spring break sewing workshop was held at no cost to participants, thanks to generous donations of sewing machines and fabrics from the community.  Ten youth participated in the three-day workshop, assisted by volunteers.  Interest has been shown for future sewing workshops, so stay tuned!

Another very informative and practical program is “Be Well, Live Well,” a 4-session series targeted toward the 55+ age group.  It is well-documented that one’s attitudes toward aging may influence one’s future health and health behaviors.  For example, if one expected depression to be a part of the aging process, he or she will be less inclined to seek medical help or change behavior to help reduce depression.  It is worth noting that folks who are positive about aging tend to live 4 ½ years longer than those who believe negative stereotypes.  Here are a few myths about aging:

  1. Myth:  Older adults are alike.  Fact: The older adult population is diverse and represents a range of races, religions, ethnic backgrounds, political preferences, educational levels and life experiences.
  2. Myth: With aging there is an inevitable mental decline, loss of memory, and inability to learn.  Fact:  If healthy, older adults remain at the same ability level until very late in life.
  3. Myth: Older people are senile.  Fact: The vast majority of older adults are not senile.
  4. Myth: The elderly are difficult and rigid.  Fact: Personality remains relatively constant throughout life.
  5. Myth: Physical decline and frequent illnesses come with aging, making old people frail.  Fact: Over 75% of older adults are healthy enough to carry out normal activities without help.
  6. Myth: Old people live in the past.  Fact: Older adults have a wider range of past experiences from which to respond and teach.

Despite negative stereotypes, retirement can have a positive effect on health including mental health.  This may be due to a reduction ow work-related stress and strain.  Also, on average, workers sleep less than 7 hours on weekdays while those who are retire sleep 4- minutes longer.  Retirees often use their time doing more daily activities requiring physical activity and exercise more frequently than those who are employed outside the home.  This could result in an increase in physical activity especially for those retiring from sedentary jobs.

“Be Well, Live Well” addresses nutrition and nutrients often missing in diets; understanding nutrition labels on food products; keeping food safe while shopping, transporting, storing, and preparing foods; meal planning using foods you already have to build a base; and being fit.  There is no charge for the series, and we are currently accepting registration.  Dates for the series are Mondays and Thursdays, April 11, 14, 18 and 21.  Sessions are 10:00 a.m. and approximately 1 hour long and will include food sampling and some great incentive items.  Call our office at 903-885-3443 to sign up.

Healthy Texas Youth Ambassador

Applications are now available for the Healthy Texas Youth Ambassador program.  Youth who will be in grades 9-12 during the 2022/2023 school year are eligible to apply.  Hopkins County currently has a youth who has represented us very well, and we would like to add to that number.  Information was recently sent to all Hopkins County high school campuses.  Youth do not have to be current 4-H members, but must register in 4-H if selected.  Contact the Extension Office or your high school principal for more information.

Closing Thought

Never get tired of doing little things for others.  Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.

– Author Unknown

Contact Johanna Hicks, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Family & Community Health Agent, Hopkins County, at P.O. Box 518 or 1200-B West Houston St, Sulphur Springs, TX 75483; by phone at 903-885-3443 or by email at [email protected].

Author: Faith Huffman

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