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Tuesday, February 06, 2018

How to Age Well - 5 Tips for Staying Independent As the Years Advance


Staying healthy is a worthy pursuit, no matter one's age. But for many seniors, living on their own and staying out of a care facility is the goal they strive for. Sound familiar?

Are you among those who want to enjoy their independent living accommodations for as long as possible?

Here are the mindsets and actions you can take that will help you stay independent, even as the years pass.

1. Know your limits.

Just because you have a youthful outlook doesn't mean that you are physically capable of everything you could do when in your twenties.

Believing that you have physically remained unchanged could be literally setting you up for a fall. And, according to the CDC, falls are one of the number one causes of injury and death in older individuals.

While you do not want to place limiting beliefs on yourself that could curb your potential, it pays to be realistic. Having a firm grasp of reality will help you work within your capability and not do something to threaten your future mobility.

In some cases, this could mean turning to a home care agency to help with certain tasks. In other situations, it might mean lowering the intensity of your gym sessions to keep your heart rate in check. Counsel with a doctor and be open to their suggestions.

2. Keep your brain agile.


Mental decline is common for seniors, but it is not a given. There are ways you can keep your brain young.

Harvard Health Publishing lists 12 actions that could prevent cognitive impairment. They cite mental stimulation at the very top of their list. Why? When you engage in activities that stimulate the brain, your brain continues to form new connections. This action and its results can go on to prevent future brain cell loss.

What does that mean for you? Anything that keeps your brain on its mental toes gets two thumbs up from your doctor. But you need not only turn to crossword puzzles and sudoku. Aerobic exercise provides the brain with the oxygen and nutrients it needs to perform at its best.

3. Have a network - and use it.

Do your children live close by? If not, do you have friends or a network you can call when needed? Do you talk with your neighbors? Do you have friends over weekly?

Your friends and those in your reading club are all part of your social circle, but they are also your network.

Take a moment to consider if you have someone you can call within your circle of friends if you needed a ride to a hospital immediately. What if you suspect you were a victim of fraud--who would you call? The network of people in your phonebook can act as a support system for you. Not only that, they can keep tabs on how you are doing emotionally and physically.

If no one immediately springs to mind, consider boosting your social circle or signing up for a support group.

4. Be optimistic.

Researchers reviewed 80 studies and found that optimism had a marked impact on one's health. The studies covered a wide range of health situations and outcomes, including longevity. Their findings? A positive attitude can provide a physical boost.

How can you cultivate more optimism in your life? Try gratitude as a path that can lead you toward a brighter outlook.

Start or end your day with an acknowledgement of everything that you are thankful for. And you just might be surprised by all the added benefits that accrue due to this shift in thinking.

5. Stay active in ways you enjoy.


If you don't use it, you lose it. The saying is doubly true for seniors desiring to stay independent. Exercise is one of the best ways to prolong your independent lifestyle. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program, and then stay moving.

If you have tried to stay active in the past but have failed, consider a moderate approach. Look for ways to engage in an enjoyable activity that will also have you moving about. Make mall walking dates with your friends. Making exercise a social activity can help get you out the door when you are feeling like staying on the couch.

Be careful to not over do it. It's better to start off slow and safe then hurry toward an injury which gets harder to recover from as you advance in years.

This is a guest blog entry.

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