TIPS FOR HEALTHY AGING

By: Clarisse Piczon & Arianna Miano

Live an active life

Regular exercise is one of the greatest keys to physical and mental wellbeing. Living an active life will help you stay fit enough to maintain your independence to go where you want to and perform your own activities. Regular exercise may prevent or even provide relief from many common chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, depression, and arthritis, to name a few.

EAT HEALTHY FOODS

Eat nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods. Avoid sweet, salty, and highly processed foods. Keep in mind that each person has different dietary needs – follow your doctor's suggestions regarding dietary restrictions

MAINTAIN YOUR BRAIN

Never stop learning and challenging your mind! Take dance lessons, learn a new language, attend lectures at a local university, learn to play a musical instrument, or read a book.


CULTIVATE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

Maintain communication with your family and friends, especially after a significant loss or life change. Schedule regular time to meet with friends and family – over coffee, during a weekly shared meal, or around a common interest. Reach out to friends who might be isolated or feel lonely.


GET ENOUGH SLEEP

Older adults need just as much sleep as younger adults – seven to nine hours per night – but often get much less. Lack of sleep can cause depression, irritability, increased fall risk, and memory problems.Develop a regular schedule with a bedtime routine. Keep your bedroom dark and noise-free— avoid watching television or surfing the internet while in bed. Stay away from caffeine late in the day.


REDUCE STRESS

Long-term stress can damage brain cells and lead to depression. Stress may also cause memory loss, fatigue, and decreased ability to fight off and recover from infection. In fact, it is estimated that more than 90% of illness is either caused or complicated by stress. We cannot entirely avoid stressful situations but we can learn better techniques to cope with stress. Take care of yourself when you are stressed by getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating nutritious foods. Talk to a loved one or counselor about your stress, and try some relaxation techniques, such as circular breathing, yoga, or meditation. Remember to always keep things in perspective – try to accept and adapt to the things you cannot control.


PRACTICE PREVENTION

Many accidents, illnesses, and common geriatric health care conditions, such as falls, chronic illness, depression, and frailty, are preventable. To prevent illness, get a yearly flu vaccine and wash your hands after using the restroom and before handling food. To prevent a fall, complete a home safety checklist, use assistive devices, wear appropriate footwear, get your vision checked, take vitamin D and calcium, and get some form of exercises into your routine.