As we get older, so do our muscles, bones, joints, eyes, and everything else that makes us a walking, talking, and breathing human beings. Change is not necessarily bad, and there are plenty of things you can do to offset the nuances of age. Glasses and dentures are great examples of tools we can use to get the most out of our bodies. There are many other ways to grab life by the horns and show your next birthday who’s boss.
Life Is a Style
When you begin to notice that you aren’t as mobile as you used to be, it’s time to evaluate what you can and can’t do. Be honest with yourself, and know that there’s no shame in no longer being able to handle lawn maintenance or intense house cleaning. Luckily, these tasks can be outsourced to talented and caring providers that will do the job just as well — if not better — than you would. For example, you can hire a cleaning service to come occasionally whenever you need them or even on a regular schedule. And if you have pets, you can always find a dog walker who can keep your best furry friend physically active.
Eat Right and Exercise
You’ve heard your entire life that you’re supposed to eat well and exercise a few times each week. This is sage advice and remains sound no matter how old you are. Limited mobility, however, can make it uncomfortable to flex, bend, and move as quickly as you can in your youth. However, that doesn’t mean you are out of luck when it comes to exercise.
Nurse Next Door explains that getting plenty of regular physical activity can help control chronic diseases and improve many aspects of your health, including your balance, posture, muscle mass, bone density, and mental health. A few gentle exercises for seniors include wall push-ups, tip-toe lifts, and yoga. You can also swim, walk the neighborhood with friends, or participate in group classes at the YMCA or another recreational fitness center.
Nutrition continues to be crucial in your golden years. But eating fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and high-quality grains can get expensive, and that can cause a strain if you’re on a tight budget. The National Council on Aging asserts that knowing how to identify healthy foods and nutrients starts by reading nutrition facts. Here’s a hint: The healthiest foods don’t come in a box, and they don’t have to be high-priced to be full of nutrients. Whenever possible, avoid the center section of your grocery store. Instead, shop the outer edges, which is where your fresh (and preferably seasonal) produce, dairy products and proteins are usually found.
Take Stock of Home Accessibility
Whether you’re staying put in the house you’ve always lived in or preparing to downsize, you want to make sure there are accessibility features that help you age comfortably in your home. This means adding grab rails in the bathroom to help avoid slips, updating the lighting in darker hallways and rooms, and even widening doorways or installing a ramp near the entrance of your home. By taking proactive measures to make your home safer, you lower the risk of injury.
Matters of Mental Health
Your physical health is only part of the puzzle that makes you unique. If you want to have the most control over the aging process, then you need to pay attention to your mental health, as well. One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to maintain strong social connections. If you’re religious, don’t skip Sunday service, as your time in the pews is also an opportunity to spend time with your friends and family. Senior isolation is a serious problem and is even linked to an elevated risk of dementia and more time spent in the hospital.
Aging doesn’t have to mean slowing down. If you can no longer do some things, shift your focus and prioritize others. Eat a balance of healthy foods, and don’t stop being the life of the party.
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From our friend Hazel at AgingWellness.org