Healthy aging goes beyond just a good diet and exercise. “Aging well consists of three different components: physical health, emotional connection, and mental support,” says Parul Goyal, MD, director of Vanderbilt Health in Nashville. Discover the seven signs that you’re taking the right steps toward a healthy, fulfilling life, says New York Post.
1. Keep learning new things: stimulate your mind.
Since older adults generally have fewer opportunities to learn new things, it is essential to look for ways to stay engaged and continue learning. Goyal highlights the importance of practicing new skills to keep the mind active, citing studies that have shown up to an 11% reduction in the risk of dementia in people who engage in regular intellectual activities.
2. Talk about your needs: The power of communication.
Silence about needs can be harmful to physical and mental health. Robin Golden, of Rush University Medical Centre, stresses the importance of expressing needs and highlights that depression can be treated at any age. Open communication with doctors and family members is essential for healthy aging.
3. Involvement in society: combating loneliness.
Dr. Vivek Murthy has warned of an epidemic of loneliness, which has been particularly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Social isolation impacts the health of older adults, highlighting the importance of maintaining social connections to maintain cognitive health.
4. Maintain physical health: exercise and diet in old age.
Even in old age, exercise and a healthy diet are essential. Dr. Lee Lindquist emphasizes the importance of movement and highlights that the Mediterranean or DASH diet is ideal for aging. Staying active is essential to ensure balance and gait, while a balanced diet nourishes the body.
5. Do what you love: Have fun in old age
Even with illness or injury, it is possible to enjoy old age by doing enjoyable activities. Lindquist encouraged activities that bring happiness, highlighting that care management is crucial to a fulfilling life.
6. Review your medications: a thoughtful approach
Polypharmacy, or excessive use of medications, can cause interactions between people. Regularly reviewing medications with a doctor or geriatrician is essential to avoid adverse effects, especially in the elderly. Studies indicate that a large percentage of older adults with dementia take six or more medications.
7. Make a plan: prepare for the future.
Talking with family about wishes and plans for unexpected medical conditions is crucial. Lindquist highlights the importance of planning years before needing help, ensuring an individual’s voice is heard as they age. The free resource Plan Your Life offers guidance on how to handle these conversations in stressful environments.
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