Aging is a dynamic process – bringing with it wisdom, experience, and increased skills. The challenge for us is in ensuring our communities engage seniors and offer platforms to tap into this rich wealth of resources.
May is Older Americans Month, and the theme — “Age Out Loud” — focuses attention on giving a voice to seniors on issues related to aging. The experience of today’s seniors runs the gamut, from continuing to work to getting involved in advocating for themselves and other people.
There are things we can all do to age successfully, thriving as we “age out loud”.
Protect Your Physical Health
Health is a precious resource, and it’s important to take steps to remain well as you age. One of the most important actions you can take to stay healthy is to see your doctor for regular physicals and routine screenings. By doing so, you increase the odds of catching and treating any problems early. In addition, visit your dentist regularly and make sure you understand correct dosing for any medications you take.
Incorporate healthy habits into your life. With your doctor’s approval, get some exercise most days and eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of produce, whole grains and lean protein. Make sure to get ample rest and control stress levels.
Keep Your Mind Sharp
You can take a number of steps to help keep your cognitive abilities at their best. To reduce your risk of age-related memory loss, consider the following actions:
- Keep blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol in the healthy range
- Exercise regularly and focus on healthy foods in your diet
- Avoid smoking and drink responsibly
- Engage in mentally stimulating activities such as puzzles
Nurture Your Spirit
Even if you’re not a religious person, you can benefit from getting in touch with your spirituality. You can become more connected to your spiritual nature through practices like yoga, meditation or even setting aside time to quietly reflect on what’s important to you.
By becoming more spiritual, experts say, you may experience positive effects, such as gratitude and optimism, positive relationships, better self-esteem, compassion and a greater appreciation for life.
Connect with Others
Spending time with family members and friends can help you stay connected, laugh more and hold onto a healthy sense of optimism. But being social doesn’t just feel good, it may actually improve your longevity and other aspects of well-being.
Research has found that enjoying friendships — even with people who live far away — can improve your chances of living a long and healthy life. Spending time with friends can lower blood pressure and inflammation, which can reduce the chances of a stroke. Having close relationships can also lower stress and the risk of depression.
How Will You Age Out Loud?
During Older Americans Month, consider what steps you want to take to keep yourself healthy in mind, body and spirit as you age. What are some of the ways you will engage or are engaged in your community – sharing your wisdom, skills and insights in order to create a vibrant and dynamic place? We would love to hear your stories about how you Age Out Loud.