What Does It Mean to Age Successfully?

What Does It Mean to Age Successfully

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 



Seventy percent of Americans over 30 think the country is “a little or not at all prepared” to address the health and social needs of older adults, according to a study by West Health Institute. And just 10 percent of professionals who work with older Americans feel seniors are “very prepared” to age well, according to the National Institute of Senior Centers.

Generally, we worry about aging successfully, but do we even know what “successful aging” means? In the past, the perception of success meant living indefinitely in one’s house. Today’s definitions have expanded though. “The cornerstone to successful aging is maintaining a consistent physical activity routine and healthy diet,” the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine reports. Overall, successful aging is about health, vitality, wellness, energy, enthusiasm, sociability—all of which are enhanced not by living in isolation, but rather by being part of an active and engaging community for older adults.


One of the hallmarks of successful aging is the ability to manage factors of one’s life independently. An older person’s ability to make his or her own decisions and act autonomously is often a defining characteristic among those who feel they are “living well” in their senior years.

Living alone, ironically, tends to undermine this sense of independence. Older people may find themselves unable to drive, with restricted opportunities for social interaction, and perhaps, additionally limited by physical conditions that hinder independence.

Senior living, on the other hand, can foster independence. With the support of caring staff members, residents of an assisted living community are able to maintain a strong sense of self-direction, making their own significant choices and decisions in ways that allow for autonomy safely.


Physical and mental wellness are key metrics in the definition of successful aging. Among older Americans, 40 percent name physical health as a top priority and 32 percent rank mental health as a chief concern, according to a report from the National Council on Aging.

Living in isolation takes a physical toll: It’s hard for seniors living on their own to maintain a regular routine of activity and exercise. On the other hand, a community lifestyle supports health and wellness in a number of important ways.

Senior living communities may have exercise and activity spaces designed for the specific needs of older persons, thereby making it easier to establish and maintain a regular routine that supports physical well-being. Group exercise and scheduled activities further encourage residents to take an active interest in their own ongoing health.

Just as the community environment can support physical health among residents, it can also encourage lifelong mental sharpness. Living alone may mean a lack of stimulation, which in turn leaves mental faculties idle. An assisted living community brings residents together for a range of interactions throughout the day. This social component helps ensure mental vigor. At the same time, intellectually engaging activities and creative pursuits contribute to the ongoing cognitive engagement key to successful aging.


Healthy eating is a vital component in the modern definition of successful aging. That’s in part because nutrition is often neglected among those who live alone, despite it being a strong contributor to both physical health and an overall sense of well-being.

More specifically, older people living on their own may find it hard to get to the store regularly. Many also find the act of preparing food to be physically challenging, while some simply don’t want to bother with cooking. This has consequences: According to various studies, people who don’t receive proper nutrition have a higher rate of depression, an increased risk of infections, and a lower likelihood of being discharged from the hospital once admitted. Furthermore, poor nutrition has the potential to drive a 300 percent hike in the cost of healthcare.

Fortunately, the culinary experience in senior living communities can turn this around 180 degrees by offering residents ready access to wholesome, interesting meals. Freed from the need to prepare food, assisted living residents are better able to relax and enjoy their meals. They have access to a wider variety of foods, and the social component of communal meals makes it more likely that they will take an active interest in the diverse culinary opportunities available.

Senior Living and Aging Successfully

What does it mean to age successfully? Independence, wellness, nutrition—these are among the key elements. Overall, it’s about having the resources available that empower one to engage fully in life. Aging well means participating in vibrant, thought-provoking, meaningful interactions. It’s a state of being that is hard to achieve in isolation, but much more readily realized in a vibrant community, surrounded by one’s peers and supported by caring staff.

senior living guide to aging well
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