Chronic diseases are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and according to the World Health Organization, eliminating three risk factors – poor diet, inactivity and smoking – would prevent 80% of heart disease and stroke, 80% of type 2 diabetes and 40% of cancers. Indicating an awareness of the importance of healthy choices, the survey revealed that only slightly more than half, or 54 percent of Atlanta-area residents, are very comfortable with their current physical health although 69% are generally comfortable with their current age and six out of ten are also very comfortable about their future. Interestingly, more Atlanta-area residents feel comfortable telling people their age (85%) than talking about politics (44%) or religion (60%).
To encourage more people to take a more active role in their health at every age, Pfizer is working with Generations United and others to ask Atlanta to consider: how do you want to Get Old? Get Old is an initiative created by Pfizer to encourage productive conversation and actions around aging and living better. Atlanta-area residents can visit a new Pfizer-sponsored website at www.GetOld.com to join the conversation and to find information about healthy aging. Pfizer has also developed a Healthy Aging Checklist, organized by the decade, that provides simple health tips on everything from skin care to preventive care for men and women from their 20’s to their 60’s. Grantmakers In Aging has also created, with the support of the Pfizer Foundation, a series of toolkits that can be accessed here: Age-Friendly Communities: The movement to create great places to grow up and grow old in America ; Aging Power Tools and Age-Friendly America for communities which want to develop strategies to ensure their citizens have the transportation , housing, health care and employment opportunities needed to Get Old in their own community.
“Our communities should be places where we can grow up and grow old and where, no matter what our age, we feel connected and engaged,” says Donna Butts, Executive Director of Generations United, an advocacy organization focused on improving the lives of children, youth and older people through intergenerational strategies, programs and public policies. “Good communities, like lives well lived, don’t just happen. They require careful planning and nurturing. Let’s start thinking ahead to what Atlanta needs to do to prepare for a healthy, older America.”