September is Healthy Aging Month and we are excited to cover this subject. Oftentimes people have pre-conceived notions that associate aging with walkers, dentures and prescription medication. The saddest connotation of aging is decreased abilities. Too many people predict their own elder age of having little independence or achievement and complete worthlessness.
The truth is: Aging is a good thing.
At SYNERGY HomeCare, we see many people loving life in middle age and even into their 90’s and 100’s. Age brings wisdom and experience. With a healthy body, the elderly can put a sound mind to good use. Think of the 80 year old woman who can outrun her grandson. Think of Albert Einstein, who, among his many accomplishments was offered the Presidency of the State of Israel when he was 75.
We want you to be aware of the things you can do to improve your quality of life over time and combat the negative stereotypes of aging. Life is not over once you’re over the hill; in fact, it’s only just beginning. Here’s a health timeline from SYNERGY HomeCare:
Healthy Aging in your 40’s and 50’s
Begin healthy habits now. Even if you didn’t keep healthy habits in the past, incorporating them in your 40’s and 50’s can make all the difference as you age.
- Regularly exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Quit unhealthy activities like smoking, binge drinking, and high fat foods.
- Speak with your doctor about pre-screening for illnesses and conditions. Early detection of these conditions is easier to treat when in its earlier stages. Make an active effort to continue to follow your doctor’s screening plan. Research family health issues as well. The more you know about what you are susceptible to, the more you and your doctor can start early preventative measures.
- Staying mentally active is vital to improving the quality of your life as you age. By staying sharp now, you will maintain mental acuity into elder age. Whether it is going back to school to get or finish a degree, taking up a new hobby, or completing the daily crossword puzzle, keep your mind active. It is never too late to learn an instrument or another language.
- It is imperative to stay connected with friends and family. Having people you can turn to in hard times or during periods of loss will help to combat the feelings of loneliness and isolation; two mental states that threaten your well being as you age. Make yourself accessible to forming new friendships and bonds. Volunteering your time, spending time with family and/or your pets, and singles groups are great ways to stay in touch and form new ties.
Healthy Aging in your 60’s and 70’s
As you move into your 60’s, continue the healthy habits you have established in your 40’s and 50’s or start new habits. Be proactive about your health by continuing to exercise, eating healthy and omit unhealthy smoking and drinking. You can also follow these recommendations.
- Implement portion control. Overeating can lead to weight problems and clogged arteries, which are more and more difficult to overcome as you age.
- Be a high-maintenance patient. Continue to screen for diseases and by knowing and understanding pre-existing conditions. By researching your condition and asking questions, you increase your ability to manage complex conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. You can also find cancers and other conditions early.
- As you approach retirement, do not let your body and mind retire as well. Stay active by taking a walking tour through parts of the world or the United States.
- Upcoming retirement also means that you need to be financially prepared to fund your continuing health as you age.
Healthy Aging in your 80’s and 90’s
An aging body will naturally lose some dexterity and flexibility over time. Don’t let this get you down; with healthy habits you can stay strong and happy in your elder age. Keep these tips in mind as you age, and keep your family members in the loop.
- Calendar Your Meals. If you have a relative or caregiver who is helping you with meals, this will help them to shop for the right foods, and keep you eating the foods you love. Also, make or request foods with high protein and less sodium, which are better for your body.
- Organize Medication. Use a weekly am/pm medication dispenser to make sure you take the right pills at the right time. If you are concerned about the combination of certain pills, consult your doctor. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about your medication.
- Exercise. A 90 years old body may or may not be able to run a marathon, but it can still keep moving. Cardiovascular health is the key to maintaining your overall well being. By increasing your heart rating regularly, you will improve your circulation, which will nourish your whole body. It will also prevent your arteries from clogging, and keep your heart and lungs healthy. An added benefit is also your body’s production of endorphins and other mood promoting hormones.
SYNERGY HomeCare is dedicated to helping people live independently in their own homes. If you have any questions about healthy aging, or how to be more comfortable and independent as your age, please give us a call at (877) 844-9217. It is never too late to start taking care of yourself. Making healthy decisions now reverses some of the damage done in your younger years. Life does not end after you reached “old age.” By staying positive and keeping an open mind, you have the chance and possibility of making these years just as fulfilling, if not better than your youth.