Aging Smartly - How to Plan for Your Senior Years

Aging Smartly: How to Plan for Your Senior Years

Fear of ageing hits us all at least several times throughout life. It is one of the most common fears there is. Different people fear ageing for different reasons. Some are afraid they won’t be able to recognize themselves in the mirror. Others are terrified of the proximity of death. Some dread the loss of control over their lives.

As natural as these sensations are if there is one thing that can be done to prevent or at least minimize them it is preparation for one’s senior years. By taking care of yourself, maintaining good health and good will, practicing self-care, and planning ahead, you can age smartly and gracefully, with little to no fear included.

Here are some tips to give you a hint on what you should do.

Be active

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30 million adults age 50 or older (nearly 30%) are physically inactive. This can have a significant impact on the health of those adults and worsen their quality of life.

Being physically active from starting in earlier years can be an excellent foundation for good mental and physical health. However, even if you weren’t exactly athletic in your early years, it is never too late to start.

The recommended scope of physical activities for adults 50 and over is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week. Even if you cannot meet these guidelines you should be as active as your abilities allow you.

You are what you eat – eat well

A global disease study found that poor diet is a factor in one in five deaths. Millions of people (both adults and children) are eating a diet low on fruit, vegetables, fish, whole grains, and nuts and high in salt and sugar. This can lead to many health problems, but also to the deterioration of the skin, which makes you look older than you are.

The solution is, obviously, to eat nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and to avoid highly-processed foods, carbonated drinks, and food high in salt and sugar.

Keep challenging your mind

In the World Alzheimer’s report 2018 it is stated that 50 million people worldwide are living with dementia, and this number will triple by 2050. What to do to prevent being a part of these grim statistics? Well, you can fight extreme cognitive decline by always challenging your mind with new things. Do not think it is ever too late to start learning a new language, to take dance lessons, to learn how to play an instrument, to play board and trivia games, or to simply read a book.

Be in control

As we mentioned in the intro, one of the reasons why people fear getting old is the possibility of losing control over their lives. This includes financial, residential, and everyday dependence on someone.

Many seniors avoid hiring a nurse or living with their children or siblings, as it would harm their independence. That’s why there are gadgets like medical alert systems which provide emergency help in the case of fall, heart attack, or injury. This can be a useful purchase to give yourself and your children peace of mind.

Cultivate friendships and community connections

Hasn’t anyone ever told you that one is the loneliest number? Loneliness is not just an emotional category. It can take a heavy toll on one’s health. In fact, it increases the likelihood of mortality by 26% and it does to your health the same thing smoking 15 cigarettes a day would do.

By maintaining communication with your friends and family, particularly after the loss of a spouse, you are combating social isolation. Schedule regular meetings with them and find a friend who feels equally lonely as you to share the burden. Being involved in important community activities such as participating in growing community gardens, playing cards, and volunteer work can build foundations for everlasting friendships and healthier senior years.

Make positive changes to your lifestyle

As you may have concluded by now, the plan for senior years includes many lifestyle changes which can contribute to a better, healthier and more independent golden age. Besides diet and physical activities, there are other things you can change in order to secure a better future:

  • Develop a regular sleep schedule with a bedtime routine.
  • Find a way to de-stress (yoga, circular breathing, and meditation).
  • Go to regular health checkups.
  • Nurture your skin (use sunscreen and moisturizers).
  • Take multivitamins.

Senior years do not have to be the boogeyman you should avoid by hiding under your bed. Instead, you should embrace it by preparing for it well. If you do that, you will be able to enjoy this time with your friends and family, and finally understand why it is sometimes called “the golden age”.

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