We all age. It is an inevitable but manageable natural process that everyone experiences. How we age depends on the quality of life we enjoy. “How we age” is influenced by our choice of behavior, which ultimately affects how our aging unfolds.
I live it now. I am a retired internist and geriatric doctor who has cared for countless patients for decades. I witnessed their aging and enjoyment or lack in later years and saw how their personal decisions affected it. I offered the best care I could, and in return, my patients taught me lessons that I try to apply in my daily life, now that I am in the later years of my life.
I am currently on the board of Senior Helpers, one of the leading providers of personalized care for the elderly at home in the country. Senior Helpers discusses HOW to age. Its services range from specialized care for those with diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, to personal and accompanying care to help individuals who seek little help with daily activities. The goal of the company is to help seniors learn to age elegantly, for which I will now share some tips below. Read on to learn more – and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss them Reliable signs that you have already had COVID.
The first thing I would recommend to those over the age of 50 is not to behave as if you are still in your 20s. Seriously, our bodies are completely different when it comes to the physiology of aging and you can’t change that. Instead, you need to learn to manage the inevitable changes and face them. Our musculoskeletal system does not have as much flexibility and strength as we once had in our youth, which in turn means we are more prone to falls and injuries. In addition, our senses, hearing, and balance decrease over time. The lesson is that you need to be aware that you are no longer 20 years old and that it is okay. We need to adapt by doing things that recognize these limitations. Exercise should be less shock and lower intensity to be safer and avoid the risk of injury. I recommend exercises that strengthen your aerobic and musculoskeletal abilities. Such simple activities as walking, cycling and swimming are a good example of aerobic exercise. Gardening, stretching exercises and other recreational activities can also be aerobic. All of these activities engage the mind and help maintain the alertness and sharpness of the elderly, while helping to improve fitness, strength, mobility and endurance.
The other thing you need to stop doing is ignoring your body and not seeking help. This is one of the most important habits that someone over the age of 50 should give up. Your body knows when something is wrong, and you need to listen to it. This can help mitigate the effects of aging. The body communicates its stress and strain with pain or discomfort. This joint hurts, this activity causes chest pain, and so on. Listen to and seek regular medical attention from a qualified physician if such events occur. Seeking treatment early when your body shows warning signs can reduce the incidence and severity of the disease, helping you prevent serious health problems such as severe orthopedic injuries or a pending heart attack. The lesson: let qualified doctors decide on the diagnosis and offer treatment – don’t ignore it!
The third thing you should stop doing after age 50 is to avoid the doctor. Routine check-ups, even if asymptomatic, are necessary for those approaching or approaching old age. Attending these meetings can help detect diseases you might never have been aware of. It is generally accepted that the older you get, the more likely you are to have problems. A good example is screening colonoscopy. Colonoscopies are necessary when entering senior years, and are key to preventing colon and rectal cancer. In fact, the test detects most colon cancer at an early, curable stage. Before the exam became widely available, patients typically had colon cancer that had already spread, resulting in patients experiencing adverse symptoms such as rectal bleeding, weight loss, and abdominal pain that could otherwise have been prevented or reduced. The small risk of removing a precancerous polyp with a test is worth it.
The fourth thing you should stop doing is engage in unhealthy eating, drinking, and sleeping behaviors. Balancing your diet, controlling alcohol consumption and getting plenty of rest is a good formula to improve your well-being and brain health. Specifically, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and whole grains is essential for a healthy and happy brain. The Mediterranean, DASH and MIND diets are all noteworthy as they are associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline. Nevertheless, it is important that you consult your doctor before changing your diet or sleep schedule.
The fifth thing you need to stop doing is avoiding your mental health. This is perhaps even the most important thing we should stop doing. A person can live a happy life with great physical weakness, but if depression and anxiety are pronounced, happy aging is almost impossible. This risk can be prevented through routine social interactions, strong family ties, and spirituality. Go to an evening of games together, join a club, attend birthday parties, etc. It is clear that individuals work better if we participate in society. It is called being human.
Another important thing to consider after age 50 is to maintain mind activity. Activities such as word games, puzzles, dancing, and daily meditation stimulate the brain and can help improve concentration, memory, hand-eye coordination, critical thinking skills, and more. Not only are these activities easy to implement, but they are easily accessible. Find a word game at the back of a local newspaper. Move a few tables, turn on a few tunes, and show off your moves. Take a few minutes each day for mediation that will allow your brain and body to relax and reset after fun word games and dancing.
The biggest secret to feeling better and living longer is to stay active, both physically and mentally. You can’t allow your lifelong bad behavior to continue into your 50s and affect HOW you age.
Aging is scary, but not necessary. Of course, a few strokes can happen along the way, but if you plan, take the necessary steps, and break your bad habits, you can make aging beneficial and turn it into the best decades of your life. And protect your life and lives. others, do not visit any of these 35 places where COVID is most likely to get sick.
James Dan, MD, is a geriatric clinical consultant and member Senior assistants Management Board.