Is it possible to be a “young 90”? Or more perilously, an “old 60”? The answer, of course, is “yes.” The difference is about more than just being a member of the lucky gene club. There are things we know for certain about making the quality of life for seniors as rich and rewarding and positive as possible.
Here are a few tips for healthy aging :
Nip depression in the bud
More than 6.5 million seniors live with depression. There are many signs to be alert for, such lack of energy, loss of interest in everyday activities, sleep problems, irritability, and more. The good news is that with the right professional treatment people usually feel better. So, be aware of how you or your senior feels, and see a doctor if you think it is depression.
Isolation often goes hand-in-hand with depression. That’s why staying connected to family, friends, and activities is vital to senior well-being.
The idea of going to a senior center and making new friends or joining an activity club may take you out of your comfort zone, but it’s usually well worth the effort. Seniors report that some of the highest levels of well-being are a result of socializing.
Another proven source of senior well-being is exercise. It can be as light or as strenuous as suits you. Walk a little every day. Do chair yoga. Stretch. Exercise is so important because it does much more than help maintain muscle tone. It has significant impact on how positively you feel about yourself and your daily life.
Use your brain
Now is the best time ever to keep learning. You don’t have to prove anything to anybody. You can just enjoy the journey. If you can, take a course. It doesn’t have to be for credit. Read. Do puzzles. Stay engaged. Remember that curious 35-year-old? She’s still inside you; reawaken her.
Depending on your situation, be as helpful as you can. Volunteer at a shelter, at the senior center, at a school. If getting out is a problem, there are probably lots of ways to help where you live. If you can walk, push somebody’s wheelchair. If you can see, read to a friend. If you’re living with family, fold the laundry, help prep dinner, run errands, share your knowledge with your grandchildren.
Be smart about your habits
Obviously, it’s important to eat right and get the proper nutrition. Even more obviously, don’t smoke. And moderate your alcohol intake. If you still have decent health, treasure and nurture it. You don’t want to do anything to jeopardize it.
If you do have health issues, be sure to follow you doctor’s orders.
The key to maintaining a good quality of life as you age is to embrace it, maintain a positive view, stay as active as you can, and appreciate that as someone who has lived a long life, you are indeed one of the fortunate ones.