(This blog has been updated from its original April, 2019 posting).
Aging can be a scary time for many. The way we look, feel, and act does evolve over the years. But, that doesn’t mean that your best is all in the past!There are so many advances in medicine and technology to help us age successfully. We can help ourselves by maintaining a healthy diet and staying active – physically and mentally!
After years of working, caring for a family or loved one, you may have put your needs and desires aside. Now is the time to rediscover old hobbies or learn new ones. The options are limitless!
Here are some ways you can make the most of your time:
Meaningful connections keep us stimulated and engaged, but the benefits of good company and companionship can be much more straightforward. From everyday reminders to make healthy eating choices to having a walking partner, maintaining an active social life is a key to aging happily and more successfully.
Challenging your brain is believed to preserve individual brain cells and stimulate the connections among them. The good news is that when it comes to exercising the mind, there are so many easy ways to learn, explore and try simple things like puzzles, games, and reading – or more complex activities, such as painting or building a garden.
When it comes to getting older, it’s no secret that physical activity is one of the most important components. Studies show that certain cellular processes such as inflammation, oxidation, and glycation are some of the more harmful effects of aging, which means it’s happening from the inside out. But exercises help to work against these processes, so whether it’s a long walk or strength training, staying active doesn’t have to be hard, it just has to be done.
Finding an activity that you can do with others is a boost! The National Institute On Aging offers ways to start and sustain a walking club.
Maintaining a positive outlook at any stage can be difficult, but it is no less significant, especially with older age. A January 2016 study published in the Personality and Individual Differences journal reported that older adults with negative attitudes about aging had slower walking speed and worse cognitive abilities just two years in, compared to those adults who thought positively. One key takeaway among many here is that attitude really is everything. Don’t listen to the negative self-talk in your head telling you, “you’re too old, you can’t learn this.” Pursue that new project, and don’t let fear hold you back!
Enjoy spending time with younger people. Ask them what’s new. In most cases, they will be happy to tell you. Please don’t be shy about asking them for tips on using technology. Your grandchildren will be glad to share their skills and knowledge! Tap into YouTube! There are tutorials on everything from fitness, cooking, art, yoga, pottery, painting, etc. Have fun exploring!
Stay Part of The Community
Attending local events or volunteering for a cause that’s important to you can add meaning to your life. Whether it’s helping out at a local animal shelter, mentoring a teen, or delivering meals, you can feel better by making a contribution. You can devote as much, or little, time as you desire.
As our bodies age and change, our need for food-based nutrients becomes increasingly essential. Eating whole grains and fruits or vegetables with every meal is a great place to start, but paying close attention to proper hydration, sodium, and fat content is critical in fighting off infections and diseases that become more common.
Many Medicare Advantage plans offer home-delivered meals to help their members recover faster after a hospital stay. These meals are specially designed for older adults and are heart-healthy and diabetic friendly.
Regardless of your age, or even condition, one important thing to remember is that building and preserving relationships, mental health, activity, and even emotions, remains an ongoing process. But it’s one that’s never too late to start!