Aging may be inevitable, but it doesn’t have to affect the quality of your life if you take good care of yourself when you grow older.The same basic principles of a healthy lifestyle will still apply whatever your age, and with allowances here and there then it’s perfectly possible to be fit and active into very old age. On the one hand, you can’t pretend you’re never going to grow older, but on the other, you have a wealth of resources available to you to keep you youthful for as long as possible.
One of your most important weapons is your attitude; not assuming that because you’re older, you will become less capable.If you do find you aren’t able to do things you once were, try and accept the fact, but don’t anticipate your inability before it manifests itself. By carrying on with all the same activities for as long as possible, you will keep your mind alert and your body fit. If you say, for example, you’re going to give up golf because you’ve turned eighty, when in fact you could keep going, you run the risk of inviting infirmity in. Far better to keep playing, but start using a golf cart if you find the walk a bit much. Never say you’re too old for anything. There may be reasons why you can’t do certain activities anymore, but it’s the injury or infirmity that’s the cause rather than old age itself. If you want to study for a qualification, write a book, travel around the world, or any other ambition of your choosing, there’s no reason you can’t just because you’re a senior.
Diet and exercise
Exercise and a good diet are just as important when you’re older if you want to stay fit and healthy. You might want to switch from running to swimming if your joints are feeling the strain, but on the other hand plenty of seniors complete marathons, so if you love running, keep at it. You might feel the stiffness and the start of joint pain that can signal the onset of osteoarthritis, but don’t let that stop you taking exercise. Immobility will make your symptoms worse, so keep using the joints and follow an exercise program recommended by your rheumatologist to keep yourself mobile. Aim to eat a healthy diet, and make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium and vitamin D, which will help prevent the effects of osteoporosis. Seniors often say that if they’ve reached the age they have they should be able to eat and drink whatever they like, and they do have a point! You want to be able to enjoy your life, so the odd indulgence isn’t a major problem, but bear in mind that the better you fuel your body, abler it is to keep working properly.
Taking care of your health
You’ll be aware that growing older can make you more susceptible to certain medical conditions, and that can be worrying for many people. The idea of getting cancer, heart disease, or dementia is a pretty scary one, but although your risks may be increasing, you can help prevent these conditions and get treatment if they do arise. It’s never too late to give up smoking or lose weight, so don’t think you might as well carry on as you are because you believe it won’t make any difference. It could, in fact, make a big difference, so if you can, get some help to quit the cigarettes and shift some pounds. The other action you can take is to be aware of any signs that you may have a medical condition that will need treating. For example, breathlessness when walking upstairs, if you’re usually fine; problems with having to get up in the night to visit the bathroom, having difficulties with your vision, or feeling a new pain anywhere. If you notice any changes, get yourself checked out by the doctor. It could be nothing to worry about, or it could be a minor problem that can be easily treated, but just in case it is something more serious, the sooner you can get it diagnosed, the better.
Worrying about your future
Worrying is a fruitless activity, for it doesn’t help you in any way. It will just make you more stressed, which is going to make you feel worse.Deal with any worries you have about your future that you can, for example, sorting out your will and arranging life insurance. Worrying about the possibility that you might become ill is pointless; you’re far better off keeping an eye on your health and getting anything checked out that you notice. Dementia is a big fear when growing older, as it is a frightening prospect to have your mind affected so. If you notice you are getting increasingly forgetful, don’t jump to conclusions. It might simply be that your ability to access memories quickly is hampered by the enormous amount of information you have stored in your brain over the years. It could be that you are mildly depressed, or not sleeping well, both of which can affect your memory. Your doctor will be able to do some simple cognition tests with you and if necessary refer you to a specialist. To ease your fears, find out about and if possible visit some of the specialist care facilities for people with dementia, such as Seasons Memory Care. Seeing the standards of care and the facilities available at the best homes will help your fear of the idea of going to a facility much less. If you do get a positive diagnosis, then it will help your family to know which place you’d like to live in if it comes to the point where you can no longer stay at home.
If you want to have a happy retirement and long life, the best approach is to keep doing all the things you have always done, for as long as you can, and don’t let your birth year dictate how you live your life.