How to Age Well

Growing older comes with both rewards and challenges. For many, becoming a “senior” means retiring and having time to pursue passions that may have been postponed or forgotten. It can also mean an increase in aches and pains and well as becoming more susceptible to disease. But there are several things we can do to help ensure that our “golden years” truly are golden.
Get moving
Exercise is one of the best ways to keep the physical effects of aging at bay. Even when started late in life, exercise can lower your risk for a host of maladies, including chronic disease, physical disability and memory loss. Staying fit through exercise doesn’t mean you have to become married to the gym. A study by the Department of Cardiology in New Orleans and published in the American Journal of Medicine found that as little as 30 minutes of aerobic exercise (which can be as simple as a morning walk) three times a week may reduce your risk of heart disease by as much as 60 percent.
Eat well
Nutrition also plays an important role in how well we age. Numerous studies have shown that eating well – which includes eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats like avocados and olive oil and healthy proteins found in wild salmon, eggs, and nuts – can prolong your life and lower your risk for disease. Eating well also means avoiding foods that can be detrimental to health, such as trans fats, highly processed foods, and sugar.
 Stay socially active
Human connection is essential for a healthy life, which we discussed in this post. People who are socially active tend to be healthier in both mind and body. So, call up your friends and invite them over for coffee. Strike up a conversation with a neighbor you meet while gardening. If you’ve retired to a new community and are finding it hard to meet people, volunteer. It’s not only a great way to meet people, but can give your life purpose, which can also enhance your well-being.
Save your money
As Americans, we continue to live longer than previous generations. As such, we need more money to ensure we are able to live comfortably throughout a retirement that may be several years longer than our parents’. Start saving early.  If you’re already near retirement age, talk to a financial planner about ways you can still optimize your cash flow during retirement.
Document your medical wishes
As we get older, our ability to make decisions make become diminished or an accident or illness make render us incapable of voicing our desires regarding healthcare. That’s why it pays to plan ahead.  An Advance Directive, or “living will,” makes your wishes known to loved ones and healthcare providers by specifying what kind of medical treatment you would want – and what measures you don’t want taken – in the event you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. You should also appoint someone you trust as a Medical Power of Attorney to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
Keep a positive attitude
Illness, chronic pain and disease don’t have to be a part of growing older. By following the tips above and keeping a positive attitude about life, your life can remain vibrant, active and purposeful, even as you age.

Categories: Geriatric Care, Healthcare

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