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Embracing Aging

Keys to Embracing Aging is a Family Consumer Sciences Cooperative Extension program that introduces 12 healthy behavior practices that encourage optimal aging throughout the life span. The 12 keys of optimal aging include:
1. Positive Attitude
2. Physical Activity
3. Smart & Healthy Eating
4. Brain Health
5. Social Activity
6. Tuning-in to the times
7. Safety
8. Know Your Health Numbers
9. Stress Management
10. Finances
11. Sleep
12. Taking a Time for You

Background
What you do today will affect your future. Nowhere is this as true as it is in issues regarding aging. Aging in an inevitable and unavoidable process. It brings on many changes as a person develops throughout the lifespan. The way in which you take care of yourself through the years both physically and mentally will impact the ways in which you age. No one knows this better than centenarians, people who are 100 years old and older. America’s population of centenarians is the largest in the world and the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population (U.S. Census, 2011). Today, approximately 70,000 Americans are 100+ years old. This number is expected to rise to 600,000 by 2050 (U.S. Census Bureau).

Centenarian studies demonstrate that life does not diminish with aging. In fact, 100 year olds are teaching us that the acceptance of aging can be positive, joyful, and exciting. They demonstrate that aging brings new experiences, knowledge, wisdom and a greater ability to engineer a positive approach to the aging process.

The Keys to Embracing Aging program was created out of a collaborative effort from University of Kentucky Family Life Specialist, Amy Hosier, Ph.D., and the University of Arkansas Gerontology Specialist, LaVona Traywick, Ph.D. This interactive program highlights 12 keys aimed at helping you to grow old gracefully, successfully, and with increased longevity, based primarily on findings primarily from centenarian studies and the advice from those who participated. Keys to Embracing Aging will influence attitude, nutrition, physical activity, nutrition, brain health, social activity, technology, safety, medical literacy, financial security, sleep, and taking time for you.

Program Objectives
1. To teach participants that healthy behaviors and choices across the lifespan affect future health and well-being.
2. To teach participants that healthy behaviors and choices across the lifespan affect optimal aging.

Why is embracing age throughout the lifespan important?
• 4,369,356 people live in Kentucky who are currently old or will be old (U.S. Census, 2011).
• We value health and independence. Therefore, the way in which we take care of ourselves throughout our years, and in old age, both physically and mentally, will impact the ways in which we embrace old age.
• America’s population of centenarians is the largest in the world and the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. Today, approximately 70,000 Americans are 100+ years old. This number is expected to rise to 600,000 by 2050 (U.S. Census, 2011).

What is FCS doing to embrace aging?
• FCS included Aging as one of seven initiatives committed to improving the quality of life for individuals and families in Kentucky.
• Keys to Embracing Aging is taught as one large lesson or 12 smaller lessons that reinforce how a healthy lifestyle behaviors combined with a positive approach to aging can be a positive, joyful, and fulfilling experience.
• Keys to Embracing Aging is just one specific FCS program that teaches life skills and demonstrates that life does not diminish with age.


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