If you’ve just crossed the Golden Year, know that the best years of your life are yet to come. Seniors approaching old age should prepare for the time in their lives when their psychological, physical, and mental faculties will start to diminish. But, knowing what to expect can help you have a better quality of life and ensure that you age gracefully.
Research the Lifestyle Changes You Need to Make
According to statistics gathered by the WHO, the number of people aged 60 years and above is likely to increase from 12% to 22% from 2012 to 2050. Countries worldwide are readying their social and health infrastructures to deal with the expected shift in population demographics. So, you’ll probably look forward to a better geriatric lifestyle than the previous generations. Do your research on the most common erroneous beliefs about aging, and you can maintain good health, mental well-being, social connections, and most importantly, your independence.
Let’s Start with Physical Health
The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that around 85% of seniors develop at least one chronic disease as they age, while 60% will likely have at least two chronic health issues. The most common among them are hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and cancer. Additional problems include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stroke, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and arthritis. While getting such ailments are not entirely avoidable, you can lower their intensity and manage them efficiently with regular exercise and diet control. Leading a sedentary lifestyle and stress are two of the biggest causes, both of which can be avoided.
Not All Seniors Age Similarly
The most critical factor to remember about aging is that you won’t necessarily find it challenging to move or that you will be confined to the bed, wheelchair, or walker. Every individual physical structure is unique. You could be healthier and fitter than most people your age by making changes, such as incorporating more physical activity. As you age, aching muscles, stiffening joints, and fatigue can make it harder to keep moving. However, regular movement is essential to ensure that your body remains flexible and you maintain the range of motion. You could consider using organic products like the Uncle Bud's roll-on pain reliever that are highly effective for better pain management.
Recognize the Benefits of Natural Foods for an Active Lifestyle
Adding natural anti-inflammatory agents to your diet like ginger, garlic, turmeric, and red chili peppers is an excellent way to stay healthy and active. Studies show that foods like cherries, salmon, cloves, blueberries, pumpkin seeds, and hemp oil supplements can do wonders for overall wellness. Hemp oil contains the compound cannabinoid that reacts with the receptors in the body to improve your mood and lower pain without giving you the high normally associated with marijuana. In addition to topical application products like lotions and oils, you could consume hemp oil in pill or drops form with your doctor’s advice.
It’s Never Too Late to Reverse a Sedentary Lifestyle
Even if you’ve held a desk job for most of your life, now is a great time to start exercising and reap the benefits. Start with walking 10 to 15 minutes every day and raise the time as your body adapts. Any form of exercise can boost your blood circulation and intake of oxygen. Like your doctor will explain, you’ll keep away obesity and maintain a healthy weight. That’s the first step to dealing with diabetes and hypertension while strengthening your immunity and improving digestion. Muscle toning, denser bones, and prevention of osteoporosis are only some of the additional benefits, as are enhanced immunity from diseases.
How Exercise Works for Healthy Living
Adequate physical activity can do wonders for your mental and psychological health also. When you exercise, the increased blood flow strengthens your cardiovascular, digestive, and respiratory systems while boosting blood flow to the brain. You’ll trigger the activation of new brain cells or neurons that control memory, muscle function, and the ability to learn. Most importantly, even a moderate workout session facilitates the release of feel-good hormones like endorphins. You’ll keep away depression, anxiety, and stress which are some of the primary challenges seniors face in their retirement years.
Exercising Lowers the Risk of Falls
One of the scariest risks of aging is the possibility of getting bedridden because of slips, falls, and fractures. The most effective way to stay agile and strong is to exercise regularly. Not only will you avoid arthritis, but you’ll also maintain flexibility, posture, proper balance, and muscle coordination. All of these factors can help you stay steady on your feet. Fractures and injuries are debilitating and may involve expensive surgery and long-term rehabilitation, not to mention life-long mobility issues. Take care to get lots of sun exposure for natural vitamin D and take calcium supplements to prevent fragile bones and osteoporosis.
Be Wary of Slip and Fall Accidents
Statistics indicate that close to 80% of all slip and fall incidents occur in the bathroom. Vertebral injuries and hip fractures are the most common risks and typically need extended recovery times. Most seniors may not recover mobility entirely. Check around your home and eliminate anything that can hamper movement, especially in the path leading up to the bathroom. Seniors with urinary incontinence typically hurry to avoid the possibility of an accident. So, remove any rugs or loose carpeting. You would also want to get the floorboards affixed firmly and replace ceramic tiling with flooring that has better traction.
Renovate Your Bathroom If Needed
While on the subject of bathrooms, stepping in and out of bathtubs is risky, with a high chance of falling. Replace conventional bathtubs with shower stalls complete with grab bars and perhaps, a stool for sitting and showering. Alternatively, you could go with walk-in bathtubs that come fitted with a seat and waterproof door for soaking safely. This option is excellent for seniors who like to take therapeutic baths with essential oils and healing salts to relieve rheumatoid arthritis pain. Since the tub drains out entirely before opening the door, you need not worry about slick and wet floors that could be a hazard.
Take Your Meals Seriously
Several challenges get in the way of eating a nutritious diet, which is indispensable for well-being. To begin with, dental issues like broken and worn down teeth and diseased gums could make it hard for a senior to chew their food properly. It is not uncommon for seniors to gradually switch to a soft or semi-soft diet that may not provide adequate nutrition, vitamins, and minerals.
A weakened digestive system may also make it harder to digest the foods they usually like to eat. As a result, they often resort to lighter meals that need the support of antacids. The simplest way to work around the problem is to consult a nutritionist who can provide a detailed diet chart to guide you on the foods you can safest eat and digest. If your medical practitioner has recommended that you take supplements, set reminders to remember to eat them.
What Should You Eat?
Making drastic changes in your diet will ensure that you get the ideal nutrients to fuel your body. Add lots of vegetables and fruits that are easy to digest and provide valuable vitamins and minerals for healthy muscles, tissues, and bones. Choose more nutritious sources of proteins and switch to cooking techniques like stir-frying, grilling, and broiling instead of deep frying in oil. You would also want to swap out red and processed meats for organic options.
Take the time to research brands and read labels for options with a minimum of preservatives, fructose syrup, corn syrup, saturated fats. Also, look out for excessive salts that add dangerous levels of sodium to your diet. Following the advice of your nutritionist will also help you manage your blood sugar and blood pressure levels. If you can’t cook meals at home, look for programs that deliver ready meals to your doorstep.
Coming Back to Dental Issues
Scheduling appointments with the dentist becomes all the more critical as you age. Healthy teeth are not just crucial for nourishing your body, but your oral health also has a significant impact on overall health and wellness. If you’ve been smoking or using tobacco products, know that nicotine reduces blood flow to your mouth, raising the risk of gum disease. If you use removable dentures or have bridges and crowns, check with the dentist for proper fit. Make sure to regularly brush and floss thoroughly to avoid the risk of gum disease and bad teeth.
Seniors often face challenges like decreased saliva flow in their mouth, leading to bad breath and dental infections. Certain medications and ailments like diabetes also have side effects like dry mouth, so talk to your doctor about the risks. Do keep in mind that dental infections, if left untreated, can lead to organ failure when the bacteria enter the patient’s bloodstream.
Maintaining Mental Health is Critical for a Good Quality of Life
Geriatric psychiatric ailments are a significant challenge that can affect your quality of life as you age. Some of the most common problems include Alzheimer’s, dementia, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety. While some issues are genetic, with the proper diet, exercise, and mental stimulation, patients can slow the progression and continue to live independent lives.
You should make an effort to spend more time with friends and interact with loved ones to keep away stress and anxiety. Playing mind games like puzzles, crosswords, and problem-solving activities will stimulate new brain cells and neurons. Learn new skills or adopt a pet that will push you to keep moving to take care of them. Take an active part in your local community or seniors’ center to connect with people in your age group. Helping others will keep your mind alert and lift your mood. You could also offer to volunteer your expertise to help people needing advice like, for instance, accounting or legal guidance.
Take Up Side Hustles to Occupy Your Time
While you may have retired from your regular job, you need not give up your professional life entirely. The skills and experiences you’ve gained over decades are invaluable and should be imparted to younger generations. Consider writing a book or taking up part-time consultancy services. Earning extra income on the side can supplement your pension and help you lead a more comfortable lifestyle. Financial insecurity is another of the biggest challenges that the elderly face. And, a side hustle could be just what you need. Working is sure to keep away boredom and the depression resulting from having too many free hours on your hands.
Adopt Technology to Help You With Household Tasks
Maintaining a house can be increasingly difficult, especially when you have front and backyards that need mowing. Technology has various gadgets you can adopt to help you. A good example is robot vacuums that can be programmed to mow your grass. Some of these lawnmower models are now available with advanced models that return to their docking station when their battery is running low or detecting rain. They have additional safety features making them suitable for households with pets and kids.
Other handy gadgets include an automated pill dispenser to remind you to take your meds on schedule and a socket with a timer that shuts off after a pre-determined interval. If you often forget to turn off the phone charger or any other appliances around the house, this nifty gadget is helpful.
While you don’t need to worry about aging and the inevitable lifestyle changes accompanying the process, staying prepared is always advisable. Get more physical and mental exercise, eat healthily, and stay happy. Build new social connections and connect with friends to avoid stress and anxiety. Look forward to your golden years as an opportunity to do the things you always wanted to do, and you will have an excellent quality of life.