Golden Years

Image CaptionConventional wisdom dictates that when someone retires from the professional world they essentially retire from active life as well. 

But Ochsner Health System Executive Wellness section head Dr. W. Brooks Emory said the “golden years” can be every bit as active and fulfilling as the pre-retirement years. 

“If you’re coming up on retirement at age 60 or 62, you really have approximately one third of your life in front of you,” he said.  “It’s a tremendous opportunity.  Don’t waste it.  If you’ve got one third of your life in front of you, that’s a huge investment in time and commitment.  You could do a lot with that.” 

With more and more people living well into their 80s, Emory said there’s just no reason to slow down in your 60s.

“Statistics say that if you live to be 66, the chances of living to see 80 are higher than if you’re 40 at the same point in time,” he said.  “The fastest growing population segment is people over 80.

Emory suggests staying as physically active as possible for as long as your health allows while stimulating the mind and spirit with interests, hobbies and goals.

“The real issue is for people to stay physically active and commit themselves to do something,” Emory said.  “I see people in their late 50s or early 60s that have had some sort of job for 35 years, retire, go home without some sort of hobby or something to do outside their home, and they just shrivel up and go away.” 

And there are programs available for seniors looking to stay active. Ochsner’s Golden Opportunity is a program that promotes an active, healthy and independent lifestyle for senior citizens. 

Golden Opportunity director Angela Foster said the program, which began in 2000, boasts more than 4,000 members, about 75 percent of which are between 60 and 80 years old.

The members are treated to a variety of activities and programs designed to keep them healthy and active.

“We focus on all points of wellness,” she said.  “Physical wellness, mental wellness, social wellness, spiritual wellness – we try to make sure we have a variety of activities hitting on each part of wellness.”

With four Golden Opportunity offices spread throughout the Greater New Orleans region, Foster said there are more than enough opportunities for local seniors to stay active.

“You can come here and get any kind of question answered pertaining to senior wellness,” she said.  “We have partnerships with outside vendors to provide our members with outside resources…It’s a one stop shop for seniors throughout the area.”

For more information on how you can join Golden Opportunity, click here.


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