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Happy Black senior couple having fun gardening together at house patio

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has long recognized the benefits of older adults staying actively engaged. Programs like the Successful Aging Initiative empower older adults to live successfully at home and to use senior resources in their communities. The National Institute on Aging further recognizes that older adults can maintain their well-being and independence by engaging in productive activities.

Benefits of Engagement

Older adults can also experience numerous social and physical benefits if they remain engaged as they age. For example, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that living a physically active lifestyle can lead to the following:

  • Lowered risks of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.
  • Improved strength and balance, which aids in preventing injuries and staying independent.
  • Reduced pain levels.
  • Improved mood and symptoms of anxiety or depression.
  • Improved ability to think, learn, and make decisions.

Brain Power

In addition, the Global Council on Brain Health and the AARP published a report on how social engagement relates to brain health. Older adults can start by engaging in various activities that bring them joy. If barriers exist that prohibit such activities, they should seek someone in the community who can help make those important social connections. These recommendations are scientifically proven to lead to higher cognitive (thinking, reasoning, or remembering) functions.

Extension Can Help

Alabama Extension at Alabama A&M University encourages older adults to stay connected with community members and other older adults. Individuals can do this by enrolling in classes and activities provided by the Virginia Caples Lifelong Learning Institute. Visit them online at www.aces.edu/go/VCLLI or contact Danielle Rudolph at ddr0007@aces.edu or 256-372-4949.