Not only do people live longer than they ever have before, they are also staying healthier. Due to advances in medicine those last years of life are actually healthier, too; poor health has been creeping up closer and closer to the time of death, so most of old age can be lived well.

Are there things people can do to help insure that those last years are healthy, happy years? Yes, fortunately, there are.

1. Do not succumb to afternoon drowsiness!

Among the older set it is quite common to feel tired later in the day, especially after lunch. Don’t take a nap! Get yourself a glass of water, a nice anti-oxidant food like a prune, and get your mind and body working again.

2. Use your brain!

Using your mind not only helps maintain memory, staving off dementia or Alzheimer’s, it also creates better executive function. Play word games, and memory games. When you go for a walk find five red things, and then when you get home bring to mind what those five things were.

3. Go for a walk, and take some walking sticks along.

Walking sticks, or poles, afford better balance than a walker or a cane. In addition, they force you to engage the upper torso muscles, which in turn increases upper body strength plus cardiovascular endurance. Talk to your doctor before switching to poles, but if you can and do, you will be glad.

4. Get an eating partner.

Studies have concluded that people eat more when they are alone. So having a person to eat meals with will keep the calories down. Plus, and even more important, eating together fosters social interaction, one of the most important elements of staying healthy.

5. Get out of your rut!

It has been shown that breaking routine stimulates the brain. So try new foods, or eat them in new and different ways. Take a different street to the store. It doesn’t matter what you change, just do something new and different.

© 2017 DRY HARBOR