Healthy aging

A recent visit with an elderly relative led me to think about how the choices we make in our younger years play out when we’re older. In this case, a lack of exercise and general activity resulted in a need for physical therapy and a walker this summer. Eating poorly contributed to a loss of strength and some mental confusion. Although my relative really wanted to stay in her home, she couldn’t. Her house was not suitable for aging in place. Also, her small town did not have the level of visiting care services that she needed.

In my experience, many people do not want to think about problems that may occur years from now. Maybe they think there is nothing they can do about it. However, I believe we can and should take steps that will help prepare us for the future. The potential benefits of developing healthy habits now far outweigh the discomfort of contemplating our mortality. Plus, you might enjoy yourself and have more peace of mind in between.

  • Take care of your body
    • Eat a healthy diet – for example, the Mediterranean diet
    • Stay active – walk, garden, etc. and keep your strength up
    • Get massage, SI or stretch
  • Take care of your mind and emotions
    • Stay connected – socialize with friends, volunteer, join a club
    • Pursue a hobby or learn something new
    • Meditate or practice mindfulness
  • Take care of practical needs
    • Make a will and an advance directive
    • Live within your means, save a little
    • Be willing to move if you need to; ask for help

Time will tell if I will remember my own advice. For more ideas and information see:

Mayo Clinic Healthy Aging

CDC Health Information for Older Adults

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