With age comes many new surprises. For instance, you may sprout hair in places you never thought possible while losing it in other areas. You may also let go of a lot of the self-induced pressure you had to please others as you age. With age we often grow more confident, become more reflective, and we may come to a deeper appreciation for life’s little wonders—such as sun rises, birds singing, and smiles from our grandkids—that we overlooked or unappreciated in our youth.
Read on for tips on how to remain healthy and happy with age:
- Connect with the community
According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, older and especially retired adults who volunteered within the community got much more back than they gave. For instance, senior’s who volunteered to drive fundraising efforts, with animal rescues or who partook in a book club or participated in classes at a local senor’s center reported improved levels of happiness and fulfillment and reduced feelings of isolation and depression.
- Stay connected
Many things isolate seniors. We may live alone or have recently lost a spouse. We may be retired or lack the mobility to get around like we used to. According to data from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center located in New Hampshire, 28% of seniors report living alone in social isolation. However, remaining connected even if it’s maintaining a weekly coffee or lunch date with an old friend, can greatly reduce both isolation and loneliness.
- Remain active
Movement is vital, particularly as we age, in order to maintain both physical and mental independence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 85% of U.S. seniors have a chronic health condition while 60% have numerous chronic conditions (i.e., diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.), which is why it’s vital to stay active. Try to maintain a mix of exercise that combines resistance training, cardiovascular exercise, and balance into your daily routine. Use it so you don’t lose it.
- Get quality sleep
Sleep affects almost every aspect of our health, and for older adults, we often require more shut eye compared to when we were younger. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation recommends between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night for adults up to 64-years old, and between 7 and 8 for adults beyond 65-years of age. Sleep loss can attribute to memory, balance, and mood issues and even lead to severe injuries due to a fall.
- Boost brain health
In addition to physical exercise, older adults require mental challenges in order to prevent cognitive decline and the early onset of neurological conditions, like Alzheimer’s disease. Reports from the National Alzheimer’s Association show that 1 in 10 individuals over age 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia in the U.S. However, the good news is that several forms of cognitive stimulation can slow cognitive decline (i.e., play a musical instrument, read a book, or learn a new hobby). It’s never too late to stop learning.