The Way of Living: Being Happy and Healthy at An Old Age
Updated on: February 2023
Old age is a great time to sit back and enjoy your life. You are much wiser, people’s opinions do not easily fluster you, you are much more comfortable in your own skin, your kids have left home, and you have the freedom to do all the things you want to do.
Enjoying your life is a significant contributor to healthy aging. A study conducted by researchers from the University College in London showed that happy people were more robust and fit.
The study followed older people including 3,199 men and women aged 60 years and above living in England over the course of 8 years. This study examined the relationship between a positive outlook and physical well-being.
The evidence showed that those who were unhappy were three times as likely to develop issues in their physical activities as their animated counterparts.
It revealed that happy seniors had less trouble getting up, dressing, or taking a shower, as opposed to unhappy seniors who were twice as likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and strokes.
The enjoyment of life and general happiness are relevant determinants of mobility and future disability in seniors. The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Some Things that Keep Older Adults Happy:
The author of ‘The Longevity Process’ Howard Friedman, who is also a psychology professor at the University of California, says that genes only contribute one-fourth to one-third of your longevity. The rest? Well, that’s up to you.
Exercise and physical well-being is a great place way to start. Exercising lifts your spirit and energy levels making you feel better. This is because your body releases feel-good hormones known as endorphins. Athletes refer to this feeling as the runner’s high.
If you have not been exercising previously, it is not too late to start. A Harvard study conducted on over 1600 older men and women showed that incorporating light workouts into your routine even if you did not exercise before reduces your chances of getting disabled by 25 percent.
Exercise also helps relieve chronic pain from conditions like arthritis and pinched nerves. It helps us maintain weight; therefore, preventing us from developing diseases such as obesity and diabetes, improves our metabolism, lowers blood pressure, and strengthens our immune system.
Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Exercise Sessions:
- Identify an activity you enjoy. this way you do not have to be reminded or pushed to do it instead you look forward to doing it. This could be walking a pet, swimming, or gardening.
- Start slowly and then advance into a very strenuous activity instead build up to it.
- Exercise with a friend or a family member to keep each other motivated on those lazy days. It is a great way to catch up.
- Always consult your doctor before joining any exercise program.
What’s on Your Plate?
Eating a nutritious diet can be compared to physical activity in their importance to health according to a pyramid created for seniors by Tuft University researchers. Although your body is experiencing some changes, meal times can still be fun.
Eat with a friend or family member to avoid feeling lonely and to catch up. Also, make an effort to ensure your food is tasty and well presented to trigger your senses and improve your appetite.
If you have trouble preparing your meal or shopping for it, you can have it delivered; please speak to a family member or a healthcare provider. There are programs in many communities that provide food for seniors.
Drink plenty of water to go on a high-fiber diet. Water is also suitable for healthy skin. Your diet should be a high-fiber diet (whole foods, nuts, fruits, and vegetables) and lean protein.
You should also take supplements like calcium and magnesium, but only after consulting your healthcare provider.
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Plan for Your Retirement
Many of us can expect to live until 80; therefore, we need to fill up the next 15 years of our lives with activities. Now that you are no longer employed think about what direction you would like to take next.
It could be charity work, travel, or learning something new at the university. It is also important to start saving early for your retirement when you are younger so that you are better prepared financially.
Have a Sense of Purpose and Stay Connected
Research has shown that a strong sense of purpose for seniors had a protective effect. People who stayed in touch with family and friends stayed healthy in their old age. A study on centenarians showed they held on to a definite purpose in their lives through taking care of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and volunteering.
Spend Time With Family, New Friends, and Older People
A Gallup poll conducted in 2011 showed that seniors who spent hours daily being social were happier, enjoyed life, and were less likely to be stressed up or worried. There is evidence that loneliness increases chances of depression and illness.
A study carried out in the UK found that there has been a 50 percent increase over the last 15 years of people aged 55-64 years living alone and around one million people can go for 30 days without seeing anyone.
The rise in the divorce rate and families living far apart has contributed to this. Spending time with others helps us feel happy and connected; physical interactions are more powerful than a text message or an email.
Ensure you interact with at least one person every day. If your friends have moved away or passed on, it is time for new friends. Join clubs with activities that interest you or volunteer where you are likely to meet people who share your interests and values.
If you are single, widowed or divorced you could consider going on a date. There are dating websites for seniors to meet; you could also ask your friends to fix you up.
Love is a beautiful thing and it’s never too late. If you do not end up falling in love, you make a new friend, and it is still a win-win situation.
Join a Support Group in Times of Change
When a change occurs as it usually will, you will need a reliable support system. It could be a recent loss or a severe diagnosis. Working through your emotions by talking about them and listening to people who have been through similar experiences is soothing to the soul and will help you heal.
The knowledge of the universality of suffering will make you feel less alone. Talk to a health expert if you are feeling depressed. This can be treated with medication and psychotherapy; therefore, improving your physical health.
While it is true that disability leads to depression, the inverse is also true (depression can lead to disability). That’s why it is important to always reach out to someone and talk about your suffering.
Stay Up to Date
Listen to Lady Gaga’s new album at least once or search your favorite songs on YouTube from Ella Fitzgerald to Stevie Wonder to Dolly Paton. Music improves your mood, posture, and memory—it is part of the treatment for patients who have dementia.
You can also get cheap deals on food, clothes, and merchandise and get it delivered to you. Signing up for social media sites like Twitter and Facebook is a way to keep in touch with your younger friends and relatives as well as stay abreast of what is happening in the world.
Take Care of Your Appearance
Just because you are advancing in years should not mean that you can’t do it in style. When you look good, you feel even better. Wear sunscreen when you go out into the sun to protect your skin, use retinoid creams on your face, drink plenty of water and indulge in a little makeup if you like that sort of thing.
A great haircut can transform your face or even changing your hair color. A dark hair color makes your features look severe while a lighter skin tone softens them.
If you have wine or coffee stained teeth, you can have them whitened in a short and simple procedure. Looking good will make you feel confident and fuel your purpose.
Learn Something New Every Single Day
There’s no greater way to keep your brain alert than this. Learn a new sport, instrument,or language or skill. If you usually like to cook, you could start baking. If you use the same route to the grocery store, you can try using a different one. Studies show that breaking out of your pattern to learn something new can improve your memory.
Laugh a Lot
Laughing lowers the stress hormone cortisol. According to a study conducted in 2014, 20 minutes spent watching funny videos helped improve the memory in seniors. Some research also shows a link between happiness and lower risk of heart illness. So, laugh as much as you can because laughter really is the best medicine.