How to Minimize Your Long-Term Care Risk

Watching a loved one struggle with living independently in their old age is hard — being the one struggling must be even harder.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are used as a way of determining a person’s ability to live independently or see if they need help. That help can range from a family member who checks in and runs errands, to a part-time nurse, or even relocating the individual to an assisted living facility or nursing home.

While there is no way to predict whether a person will develop a condition that limits their ability to live independently, modern science has shown that there are things we can do now to help keep us healthy and more active and independent in the future.

Keep Moving

There is no shortage to the benefits associated with exercising. On top of helping you keep unwanted weight, depression, and mobility issues at bay, studies have shown that individuals who exercise regularly tend to be at a lower risk of developing cognitive impairment. The American Heart Association suggests a goal of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week — but it’s always important to talk to a doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

Eat Right

Much like exercise, maintaining a balanced diet is always a good idea. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables can provide you with a natural source of important vitamins and minerals. The foods we eat can also help boost our immune systems, bone health, and more.

Stay Sharp

Like our bodies, our minds require exercise as well. Learning a new skill, visiting a new place, staying on top of current events, and even playing games, can help keep your mind sharp and slow the rate of mental decline.

Plan Ahead

Just as there is no way to accurately single out individuals who will need long-term care in the future, there is also no foolproof way to prevent it. Accidents, lifestyle, and genetics are just a few of the things that ultimately determine how our minds and bodies age.

downward focused image of wooden stairs twisting at different levels with white walls and light

Worksite Walkability

Are Your Employees Walking At Work?

Evidence suggests that most Americans need to get more physical activity. Two-thirds of people in the United States weigh more than they should and nearly three-quarters don’t get the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity on most days. Because many adults spend 20, 30, or 40 hours or more a week at work, adding physical activity to employees’ workdays may be one way to help working Americans become healthier.

Walking or biking to work is one way to increase physical activity, but for many people it isn’t an option. However, for many employees, walking while at work is a way to increase their physical activity. But how safe and attractive is the walking environment at your workplace? To find out, use our walkability audit.

What is Walkability?

Walkability is the idea of quantifying the safety and desirability of the walking routes. At work, these can be streets and sidewalks in between buildings on your campus, city blocks if you work in a downtown area, or even walking on nature trails at your work. Many people work on campuses that have more than one building, and they might work in one building and have meetings in another. Do your employees walk to those meetings, or drive? Do they walk for exercise or recreation at lunch or during breaks? Do they walk to restaurants or parks to have lunch? Sometimes people don’t walk at work because they don’t feel that the walking routes are safe or convenient.

There is scientific evidence that providing access to places for physical activity increases the level of physical activity in a community.  The Task Force on Community Preventive Services strongly recommends creating or enhancing access to places for physical activity, in conjunction with a well-run communication and marketing campaign. A typical study of an intervention to create or enhance access to places for physical activity reports a 25% increase in physical activity levels.

What is a Walkability Audit?

A walkability audit tool is designed to broadly assess pedestrian facilities, destinations, and surroundings along and near a walking route and identify specific improvements that would make the route more attractive and useful to pedestrians. Using CDC’s Walkability Audit can help you assess the safety or attractiveness of the walking routes at your worksite. The audit helps you map out the most commonly used walking routes, and helps you identify the most common safety hazards and inconveniences that can keep employees from walking at work.