New Year, New You

Embracing positive lifestyle changes 

By Meghann Finn Sepulveda

Whether you vow to lose weight, exercise more or give back to those in need, the start of the new year is the perfect time to set achievable goals and make positive lifestyle changes to remain healthy and independent for many years to come.

Focus on wellness

Maintaining good health starts with caring for the mind, body and spirit.

This was especially true for Barbara Pigott, a Sun Health at Home founding member, who lost her husband of 34 years in 2016. As she navigated her grief, Barbara made a conscious decision to have a positive attitude and look forward.

“I realized it was time to make a few changes in my life,” she says. “I decided to set some goals.”

Barbara began to take advantage of the many classes offered at the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing, including diabetes prevention and weight management.

“We take a holistic approach to keeping people healthy as they age,” says Barbara Mason, executive director at Sun Health at Home, an innovative continuing care at home program that promotes successful aging among its members through personal care coordination and health and wellness support and activities.

No matter what your age, it’s never too late to start being physically active to maintain or improve your health, according to the American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging Foundation. To maximize health benefits, try all four types of exercise: endurance, strength, balance and flexibility.  Some examples include walking, using resistance bands, Tai Chi and stretching to help prevent and manage diseases like diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis, as well as improve mood and overall wellbeing.

Physical fitness classes, such as yoga and strength training that are geared toward individuals at every fitness level, are available at the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing.

“By being active, our members are able to prevent the need for more intensive support services in the future, so they can remain in their own homes,” Barbara Mason explains. “These are true lifestyle changes that can be set at any time of the year to maintain good health.”

Barbara Piggot started to make herself a priority and addressed some of her own health issues.

Get involved

Barbara became more active in her church, making rosaries and volunteering her time as often as she can.

“I count my blessings and feel it’s important to give back,” she says.

She also developed a greater sense of belonging by participating in more social outings with friends.

“I’ve been culturally enriching myself with the performing arts,” she says. “I attended the symphony, and I look forward to seeing the ballet.”

Sun Health at Home members can enjoy many organized events, seminars and learning opportunities that occur each month.

“Barbara has been getting to know other Sun Health at Home members and developed great new friendships,” Barbara Mason says. “She’s inspiring others to make changes in their own lives.”

Stay active

Even after losing her husband, Barbara Piggot continues to be upbeat and stay productive. The Sun City West resident is channeling her energy and putting more effort into creating a home she truly enjoys.

“I recently completed some landscaping and added an outdoor fire pit, and I am preparing to renovate the interior of my home soon,” she says. “I also plan to purchase a new car and travel more this year.”

Barbara rescued a small dog and is truly enjoying her new companion as she continues to thrive independently.

“I’ve committed to making this the year of transformation,” she says. “There’s no time like the present to make some positive changes.”

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