What is ‘healthy aging’ to you?

by Airman 1st Class Savannah L. Waters
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Airman 1st Class Yuyi Jiang, 86th Dental Squadron dental assistant technician, laughs during a photo shoot Sept. 13 on Ramstein. Being a dental assistant has helped further Jiang’s understanding of healthy aging by emphasizing the importance of oral hygiene. “I think healthy aging is where you do the best you can for yourself — physically, mentally, and emotionally. Eating nutritious foods and exercising help our bodies function properly, therefore, aging healthily. It’s very important that we think and learn about healthy aging, because like Albert Einstein once said, the moment we stop learning, is the moment we start dying.”
Maj. Christopher Underwood, 86th Airlift Wing Chapel branch chief, seated in the Northside Chapel Sept. 13 on Ramstein, says that spirituality and religion offer a variety of benefits as people age. “I believe that healthy aging is the integration of spirituality and religion into all other aspects of life; physical, mental, and social. They can foster positive relationship opportunities, community, a sense of belonging, and can also contribute to long-term healthy mental and physical health. Additionally, they also assist in an individual’s search for meaning and purpose in life, as well as the challenges of mortality.”
Airman 1st Class Ryan Williams, 86th Medical Operations Squadron mental health technician, sits on a mental health counselor’s couch Sept. 14 on Ramstein. Williams believes the key to healthy aging is to train herself to continue learning new things. “When you’re young, it’s easier for you to learn things. It becomes harder as you get older, but the best thing to do about it is to train your brain to continue learning things. It helps your brain stay young. My mom is one of those people, she calls herself the “Renaissance Woman” because she tries so many different things. She does archery, she writes; right now, she’s painting and she’s never painted before. I could never imagine her mind getting old, and it influences me to be better.”
Tech. Sgt. Christopher LaFaurie, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels Service Center noncommissioned officer in charge, pictured in front of unit artwork Sept. 15 on Ramstein says a healthy balance between work life and personal life is essential to healthy aging. “I think healthy aging is finding a good balance between your stressors, whether it be from work or your daily life. Find a way to mitigate and relieve those stressors. No matter what age you are, it’s important to manage everything you enjoy and whatever is important to you very well. If you don’t think about it or understand yourself well enough to take care of yourself, then you are going to fail.”
Tech. Sgt. Russell Linden, 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron general purpose heavy shop section chief, believes healthy aging is about the quality of the life he lives. “To me, healthy aging is just about being aware of our body. It’s promoting a better quality of life for ourselves, and trying to attain maximum effectiveness and staying fit to fight. I think the goal for healthy aging is so we can live happier and longer lives.”