Growing Old Gracefully

Steps You Can Take Now That Will Keep You Feel­ing Your Best as You Age

Grow­ing old may be inevitable, how­ev­er, aging well is a choice. Thanks to med­ical advance­ments and increased access to care, the aver­age Amer­i­can is liv­ing to near­ly 80 years old. Tak­ing a proac­tive approach, and estab­lish­ing healthy habits now can help you to feel your best as you enter into your gold­en years. Our Inter­nal Med­i­cine physi­cians, as well as some of their active senior patients, share what you can do now to remain healthy, regard­less of your age.

Don’t delay treatment

Whether you find your­self tak­ing more fre­quent trips to the bath­room at night or devel­op a nag­ging pain in your back, don’t ignore your symp­toms until they become unbear­able. Address­ing symp­toms ear­ly on allows you to iden­ti­fy the cause and begin a treat­ment plan that may be less inva­sive with a short­er recov­ery time. 

Con­nect with others 

As you age, you may find your­self less active than you used to be, and over time, this can lead to feel­ings of iso­la­tion. Main­tain­ing strong rela­tion­ships and ties to the com­mu­ni­ty can add mean­ing, and pos­si­bly even years, to your life. You can stay con­nect­ed in a num­ber of ways from vol­un­teer­ing to join­ing a local club or attend­ing social gath­er­ings with friends and fam­i­ly. Pets can also be a great source of companionship.

Main­tain a pos­i­tive outlook

Stay­ing pos­i­tive (and smil­ing) not only improves your mood, it may also add years to your life. Smil­ing sig­nals your body to release chem­i­cals called endor­phins which are asso­ci­at­ed with hap­pi­ness and can relieve stress and pain. Research has found that peo­ple who are more opti­mistic tend to live hap­pi­er, longer lives. Smil­ing at a stranger, laugh­ing with friends or keep­ing a grat­i­tude jour­nal are sim­ple ways for you to stay positive.

Break out of your routine

Hav­ing more time for leisure makes retire­ment the ide­al time to try some­thing new. While rou­tines can pro­vide sta­bil­i­ty and be a source of com­fort, oper­at­ing in auto-pilot reduces brain stim­u­la­tion. Your brain is a mus­cle, and just like the oth­er mus­cles in our bod­ies, it is impor­tant to exer­cise it reg­u­lar­ly. You can break out of your rou­tine and chal­lenge your mind by try­ing new foods, learn­ing a new lan­guage, tak­ing a new route to the store, com­plet­ing a puz­zle or play­ing word and recall games. Chal­leng­ing your mind will reduce your chances of devel­op­ing mem­o­ry loss down the road.

Find bal­ance

In addi­tion to car­dio­vas­cu­lar and strength-build­ing exer­cis­es, include activ­i­ties that improve your bal­ance as well. Bet­ter bal­ance reduces your risk of falls, which can have seri­ous health con­se­quences as you age.

Make rest and relax­ation a priority

Retire­ment should be relax­ing, but for many, tran­si­tion­ing from a reg­u­lar work rou­tine to increased leisure time can be dif­fi­cult. Dur­ing this time, it is not uncom­mon to expe­ri­ence sleep dis­rup­tion or increased stress. To make the tran­si­tion as smooth as pos­si­ble, relax­ation meth­ods like med­i­ta­tion or prac­tic­ing mind­ful­ness can help. Being relaxed and well-rest­ed offers many phys­i­cal and emo­tion­al ben­e­fits, includ­ing improved focus and mem­o­ry, as well as bet­ter immu­ni­ty and diges­tion. Make relax­ation a part of your dai­ly rou­tine with activ­i­ties like col­or­ing, read­ing, med­i­ta­tion or yoga.

As you age, it is impor­tant to build a strong rela­tion­ship with a physi­cian you trust. Being proac­tive and hav­ing open com­mu­ni­ca­tion with your physi­cian makes it eas­i­er to iden­ti­fy new health con­di­tions and pre­vents your exist­ing con­di­tions from wors­en­ing. For more infor­ma­tion on our physi­cians, or to find a pri­ma­ry care physi­cian to keep you feel­ing your best well into your gold­en years, sched­ule an appoint­ment today.

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