Well-Being for Aging Veterans – Veterans Health Administration

Staying active, an important 2016 resolution for older Veterans.

By the VA Shared Decision Making Project

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Look Under Your Hood

It’s that time of year. We remember how we used to look and act, and think about where we are today. We want to be healthy and continue doing the types of activities we have done in the past. Some of us make resolutions for the New Year. And, wonder what is realistic given our age and health status.

Your VA medical center can help you make small changes or even big changes that will improve your overall well-being.

Make a Pit Stop for Health

Your body may have changed a bit since basic training days, but you still have lots of opportunities to enhance your physical health. Well-being is the combination of mental health, physical health, and spiritual health — also called mind, body, and spirit. We want to assist you in addressing your overall health.

“I found something that works for my physical and mental health.”

Complete a Systems Check

The Well-being section on the Geriatrics and Extended Care website (http://www.va.gov/Geriatrics/) provides comprehensive information about the eight topics that address well-being, including:

Each topic includes links to community resources to enhance your well-being.

Get Ready for a Road Trip

Staying active is one of the well-being areas that you may want to include in your 2016 resolutions. One opportunity is the Gerofit program, a supervised exercise program for older Veterans that is located in a few of our medical centers. Programs like Gerofit may provide individual and group based exercises such as Tai Chi, line dancing, balance, core coordination, and strengthening classes. Veterans in the program have improved their health, physical function and well-being. They have also shown improvements in blood pressure, diabetes management, symptom management, and overall well-being and quality of life.

Charlie Brown, a Marine and Korean War Veteran.

Charlie Brown, a Marine and Korean War Veteran.

You’re the Driver

Charlie Brown, a Marine and Korean War Veteran, has been participating in the Gerofit program for almost ten years. “I have cancer, diabetes and I’m a stroke survivor. My doctor suggested this program. At first I asked, what the heck is it? Well, I’m glad I found out because this program gave me an evaluation to find out what I can and can’t do.

“Now that I’ve been in it, I find that it controls my diabetes and helps me with balance. Gerofit also has a social component. I have a common bond with the other Veterans who participate. I found something that works for my physical and mental health.”

Is it Time to Start Your Engine?

You may not be able to tackle all of the areas of well-being at once, but even small changes can make a difference. Is it time for you to take action and make a change — for your mind, body and spirit? Go to the VA Geriatrics Well-Being site and good luck!

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