Optimizing health: exercises, healthy life style

Unit 4

Learn what can be good for your healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise


The concept of healthy ageing refers to physical, mental and social wellbeing and involves  raising the mortality age, the absence of chronic diseases, lowering the morbidity and good functional capabilities. A disease or disability may be present, but then it has a limited impact on their well-being. It is “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age”. This is also called healthy ageing.

All this of course in a context in which older people can make their own choices in what they consider important. This depends on their individualized intrinsic capabilities (such as their ability to walk, think, see, hear and remember) and the relevant environmental factors and the interaction between them. That’s the key to Healthy Ageing. Functional ability therefore means that it is important for older people to be able to meet their needs on the basis of their values and standards:

  1. meet their basic needs;
  2. learn, grow and make decisions;
  3. be mobile;
  4. build and maintain relationships; 
  5. contribute to society.

To enjoy a good health allows people with intellectual disability to carry out activities, to be connected with others and be able to play a role in the society.

In line with this approach, the concept of active ageing is seen as "the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age”.

One of the most important factors related to the ageing of people with intellectual disabilities is linked with the health, specifically with the age-specific changes by which this people are going through such as less muscle mass, difficulty with sight and hearing, confusion, arthritis. All of this is, also, associated by the changes and increase of their medication doses.

People with intellectual disabilities appear to have a much higher prevalence of health risk factors compared to the general population are more likely to have multiple co-morbidities (including mental illnesses) and to have a lower life expectancy that increases as severity of ID decreases. In addition, people with intellectual disabilities often show signs of old age earlier than the average person

Frailty and deteriorating QoL are often due to restricted access to preventive health care as well as unhealthy lifestyles. In addition, many AAWID take high doses of different medications, eat unhealthy foods, live sedentary lives and are as a consequence overweight. Besides preventive surveillances of health risks, AAWID can improve their health by taking on healthier lifestyles, better nutrition, and more exercise.

All of this results on a higher probability of having non healthy lifestyles, a higher vulnerability and lost of independence; calling for a deep reflexion about the change and improvement of the supports provided to these personas to cover their needs. Finally, thanks to the preventive surveillances of health risks, AAWID can improve their health by taking on healthier lifestyles, better nutrition, and more exercise.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge Skills

Knowledge about Healthy ageing activities

  1. To differentiate a number of activities which might drive to a healthy ageing

Healthy and unhealthy food types and proportions.

  1. To indicate the food that should never or little be included in a menu for AAWID.
  2. To differentiate the different types of food and the proportion in which they should be included in a menu for AAWID.
  1. Types of physical activities
  2. Benefits of the physical activity.
  1. To differentiate the physical activities which are appropriate for AAWID from those less appropriate.
  2. To be able to tell some benefits associated with physical activities.

Other units

Unit 1

Getting ready to adapt/change your home. Move to another place.

Unit 2

Adapting equipment and assistive technology

Unit 3

Budget management: less income, new priorities.

Unit 5

Being aware of the changes related to the ageing

Unit 6

Safety: prevention of abuse