With statistical life expectancy in the U.S. being around 80 years, living well into one’s 80s or 90s may ripen into reality for some. (1)
Becoming a centurion or even a super-centurion with an abundance of gusto and zeal is now a realistic expectation. And why not? (2)
Let’s look at 10 ways to keep strong, happy, and functional towards healthy aging, and even challenge aging itself.
1. Positive Mental Outlook for Healthy Aging
It’s amazing how when obstacles or tough circumstances arise, thriving in the walk of life still occurs. Applying a positive mental attitude can be a measure of due respect to peaceful aging, and is so deserved in later years. Practice meditation, learn to feel good about old-age, have hope for the future, and maintain a can-do spirit. If cherished ones have recently passed away, this can become a time of great loss and uncertainty, and a cause of depression. Honor the departed, and honor life by filtering out negative emotions. Celebrate the years by making aging a better experience for yourself and those around you.
2. Maintain Healthy Relationships for Healthy Aging
People who are charming usually have something to talk about, to everyone. They consider all relationships opportunities to grow, and they enjoy sharing wisdom and ideas. Seek out, with effort, others who may need company or friendship by making new connections. This means being aware of people not only of similar age but also connecting with younger people who may cherish a surrogate grandparent. Even spend time with little kids and pay attention. They can still teach on the circle of life. Approach every stranger and acquaintance with the happiness and joy that seniors can bring to the table.
3. Have Intimate Relations for Healthy Aging
Don’t let the fear of aging paralyze a potential love life. Defy expectations in the bedroom, but equally, check-in with emotions to make sure it’s not just physical comfort or a hug that’s needed. If the inclination is still prevailing, senior sex can be fun with many extra benefits for health, including reduced risk of depression, stronger pelvic floor muscles, lower blood pressure, and lower heart attack risk. Studies have shown that between the ages of 75 to 85, 39% of men were still sexually active and 17% of women, and that many women enjoy sex well into their 80’s or 90’s, even if that just entails touching and caressing. (3,4,5)
4. Don’t Smoke for Healthy Aging
Smoking not only compromises life-expectancy, but it also helps develop major diseases, decreasing quality of life. It’s an aging accelerator to smoke, for both inside and outside of the body, so this one is a no-brainer. Talking of brains… (6)
5. Keep the Brain Challenged for Healthy Aging
Reading, chess, scrabble, trivia, crosswords, sewing, gardening, cooking, knitting, photography, fishing, painting, or crafting are just some activities that can stimulate the mind. The birth of new brain cells can be influenced and increased by all of these cognitive hobbies, which may remodel connections between brain cells. Or how about writing blogs, poetry, or joining social media groups? Write a novel or a biography. Through the story-telling of life, much knowledge and values can be imparted to others. (7)
6. LIMIT ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION FOR HEALTHY AGING
There is no need to give up a favorite tipple. However, when drinking alcohol, knowing limitations when it comes to libations is unquestionably sensible. Due to aging, metabolism will be slower, meaning alcohol will stay in the system for longer, and if on prescription medicine this is not a good mix. Seven drinks a week and no more than three drinks a day are recommended for a healthy, older person. (8)
7. Eat Less for Healthy Aging
As joyful and rewarding as it is, filling up with low-grade food and choosing quantity over quality in the kitchen or when dining out, will surely catch up. Recent studies have confirmed the old saying “the less you eat, the longer you live.” Calorie restriction diets can extend life and prevent diseases normally associated with aging. Do research on balanced diets that can provide 100% of nutritional needs, whilst eating smaller portions, and remember, seconds can always be saved for tomorrow. (9)
8. Encompass a Fulfilled Lifestyle for Healthy Aging
World hunger, animal cruelty, homelessness, illness, and child abandonment; these problems all exist. Volunteering at a local charity or institution gives something back, even helping people reinvent themselves; both volunteers and recipients. Studies have found that overall life satisfaction is higher amongst those who volunteer, including older adults. Volunteering “reduces the pace of functional decline” and is related to lower rates of depression. The effects of the “helper’s high” and the increased sense of well-being, may be factors that contribute to enhanced physical health and longevity. Volunteering not appeal? Start a business, take up an adult education class, or even a college degree. (10,11)
9. Plan Living Spaces for Healthy Aging
Thinking ahead may bring happiness to home life. Common factors to account for are making sure there are plenty of green spaces around to purify air quality, not too many steps or cobbled areas to decrease the risk of falling, and choosing a quiet neighborhood for peace and quiet. Home safety is important. Check for hazards all around inside the home in order to avoid accidents. Moving into assisted living for company, medical support, and security may be an option. Or forgo this and get crucial support at home with family or friends you trust. Communal living is an option for enjoying company and sharing. Choose wisely. Happiness begins at home.
10. Listen to a Medical Practitioner for Healthy Aging
Appointments and regular checkups should not be missed, and extra discussions with a medical practitioner are vital if any new symptoms, pain, or irregularities are experienced. At home, doctor’s orders may include taking the correct recommended supplements to balance the immune system, stretching often through gentle exercises like yoga, pilates, tai-chi, or even swimming or aqua aerobics. Getting plenty of sleep, drinking lots of water, and reducing stress may also be homecare advice that is given. (12,13,14,15,16)
Healthy Aging Can Mean Better Quality Of Life.
Aging is inevitable for us all and we all heed much on this one life certainty.
Dialogue on healthy aging is not yet age-old, but the topic is certainly gaining attention and fast becoming an optimistic, trending issue.
What with working, romancing, and socializing all carrying on later in life than ever before, it’s never too late to hold onto the fountain of youth. By practicing some of the above, opposing the flow of time and a better quality of life may be achieved simultaneously. Pull back that elusive get-up-and-go, and make healthy aging the greatest plan yet to come.
Webmd.com. Accessed January 11, 2021. https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20180920/is-100-the-new-80-whats-it-take-
Wikipedia contributors. Centenarian. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Published January 4, 2021. Accessed January 11, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Centenarian&oldid=998207064
NHS website. Sex life linked to elderly health. Nhs.uk. Published March 10, 2010. Accessed January 11, 2021. https://www.nhs.uk/news/older-people/sex-life-linked-to-elderly-health/
10 surprising health benefits of sex. Webmd.com. https://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/sex-and-health
Nicita-Mauro V, Basile G, Maltese G, Nicita-Mauro C, Gangemi S, Caruso C. Smoking, health and ageing. Immun Ageing. 2008;5(1):10.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2564903/.
Healthy Aging Program. Pacificneuroscienceinstitute.org. Published September 5, 2018. https://www.pacificneuroscienceinstitute.org/brain-health/specialty-programs/healthy-aging/
Alcohol abuse among the elderly. Americanaddictioncenters.org. https://americanaddictioncenters.org/alcoholism-treatment/elderly
Harvard Health Publishing. Eat less to live longer? Harvard.edu. Accessed https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthy-eating/eat-less-to-live-longer
Contributer G. Volunteering and psychological health. Volunteermatch.org. https://blogs.volunteermatch.org/volunteering-and-psychological-health
Dossey L. The helper’s high. Explore (NY). 2018;14(6):393-399. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_helpers_high
Harvard Health Publishing. Exercise and aging: Can you walk away from Father Time. Harvard.edu. Accessed January 11, 2021. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercise-and-aging-can-you-walk-away-from-father-time
Vitamins for the elderly. Org.uk. https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/healthy-eating/vitamins-for-older-people/
Family Health Team. Drink up: Dehydration is an often overlooked health risk for seniors. Clevelandclinic.org. Published November 29, 2018. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/drink-up-dehydration-is-an-often-overlooked-health-risk-for-seniors/
A good night’s sleep. Nih.gov. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/good-nights-sleep
5 ways older adults can reduce stress. Judsonsmartliving.org. Published April 4, 2016. https://www.judsonsmartliving.org/blog/5-ways-older-adults-can-reduce-stress/