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Agri-Life Extension Service Hosting Healthy Living Program For Adults Over 55

by Johanna Hicks, Texas AgriLife Extension Agent/Family and Community Health Agent for Hopkins County

  1. You probably know that Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in Hopkins County offers many learning opportunities. An introductory spring break sewing workshop was held at no cost to participants, thanks to generous donations of sewing machines and fabrics from the community. Ten youth participated in the three-day workshop, assisted by volunteers. There is interest in future sewing workshops, so stay tuned! 
  2. Another informative and practical program is “Be Well, Live Well,” a four-session series targeted toward the 55+ age group. It is well-documented that one’s attitudes toward aging may influence future health and health behaviors. For example, if one expected depression to be a part of the aging process, they will be less inclined to seek medical help or change behavior to help reduce depression. It is worth noting that folks who are optimistic about aging tend to live 4 ½ years longer than those who believe negative stereotypes.
  3.  Here are a few myths about aging: Myth: Older adults are alike. Fact: The older adult population is diverse and represents a range of races, religions, ethnic backgrounds, political preferences, educational levels, and life experiences.
  4. Myth: With aging, there is an inevitable mental decline, loss of memory, and inability to learn. Fact: If healthy, older adults remain at the same ability level until very late in life.
  5. Myth: Older people are senile. Fact: The vast majority of older adults are not senile.
  6. Myth: The elderly are complex and rigid. Fact: Personality remains relatively constant throughout life.
  7. Myth: Physical decline and frequent illnesses come with aging, making older adults frail. Fact: Over 75% of older adults are healthy enough to carry out everyday activities without help.
  8. Myth: Older adults live in the past. Fact: Older adults have a more comprehensive range of past experiences from which to respond and teach.

Despite negative stereotypes, retirement can positively affect health, including mental health. It may be due to a reduction of work-related stress and strain. Also, on average, workers sleep less than seven hours on weekdays while those who are retired sleep four minutes longer. In addition, retirees often do more daily activities requiring physical activity and exercise more frequently than those employed outside the home. Therefore, it could increase physical activity, especially those retiring from sedentary jobs.

“Be Well, Live Well” addresses nutrition and nutrients often missing in diets. Like understanding nutrition labels on food products, keeping food safe while shopping, transporting, storing, and preparing foods like meal planning using foods you already have to build a base, and being fit. There is no charge for the series, and we are currently accepting registration. Dates for the series are Mondays and Thursdays, April 11, 14, 18, and 21. Sessions are at 10:00 am and are approximately one hour long, including food sampling and great incentive items. Call our office at 903-885-3443 to sign up.

Healthy Texas Youth Ambassador

Applications are now available for the Healthy Texas Youth Ambassador program. Youth in grades 9-12 during the 2022/2023 school year are eligible to apply. Hopkins County currently has a kid who has represented us very well, and we would like to add to that number. We recently sent information to all Hopkins County high school campuses. Youth do not have to be current 4-H members but must register in 4-H if selected. Contact the Extension Office or your high school principal for more information.

Closing Thought

Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes those little things occupy the most significant part of their hearts.

– Author Unknown

Contact Johanna Hicks, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Family & Community Health Agent, Hopkins County, at P.O. Box 518 or 1200-B West Houston St, Sulphur Springs, TX 75483; by phone at 903-885-3443 or by email at jshicks@ag.tamu.edu.

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