Coping with change is difficult at any age, but growing old often brings a great many challenges. Transitions in our personal lives, careers and changes in our health can result in a loss of a once active and independent lifestyle. However, it doesn’t have to be that way at all and there are a great many ways that you can live life to the fullest and age well, despite your changing circumstances. Here are ten of our favourite ways to do so.
1 – Watch what you eat
Watching what we eat is important at any age but as you get older there might be slight changes you need to make so that you can stay healthy. As we get older our changing circumstances might mean that our bodies require less calories than they used to before and our metabolism slows right down. If you have little exercise happening in your day-to-day then you should cut down on heavy carbs and sugary snacks as your body will not be able to process them as well as it used to. Instead, focus on a diet that is rich in healthy fats, fruits and vegetables rich in nutrients that can keep your body perform at its best.
2 – See your doctor regularly
Seeing your doctor regularly is very important, especially as you get older and your body becomes more susceptible to illness. Visiting your doctor early can mean that you can catch any problems and treat them at the earliest opportunity. Catching illnesses early also reduces the strain on emergency rooms and hospitals when preventable or treatable conditions worsen.
3 – Stay active
The old saying of ‘use it or lose it’ still rings true and the older we get the more important this idea becomes. Whether it’s gardening, playing golf, swimming or even just gentle activities like walking to the shops or down the street to visit a friend it’s important to keep moving every day. Of course, we all have different levels of fitness so don’t be upset if you can’t move around like you used to. Simply find what you are comfortable with and go at a pace that suits you.
4 – Futureproof your home
A big part of being healthy and happy is being comfortable where you are. If you want to stay in your home for as long as possible then you need to think about how you can adapt it for the future and any challenges that you may face as your body naturally grows older. Here are some questions to consider:
- Do you have a plan for house maintenance? Are there jobs that you may find difficult that friends, family or contractors could help you with?
- Are you able to move easily around your home? Ramps, rails and stairlifts for example might be of benefit to you
- Is there a risk of slipping in your home? Are surfaces level? Do you have bath mats, and safe flooring?
- Is your home warm, safe and comfortable? Are you able to access shops, medical services and other support nearby?
5 – Exercise your brain
Being active isn’t restricted to your body, you also need to keep your mind sharp. As we grow older we often find that our ability to retain information and recall memories can slightly diminish. However, the brain is like any other muscle and with plenty of perseverance and daily practice a healthy brain can stay that way. Reading books, learning new skills such as a foreign language, doing puzzles like sudoku and crosswords, mental arithmetic and writing journals can all help curb normal age-related mental decline.
6 – Visit loved ones
If you spend very little time outside of your home, then it can be easy to begin to feel isolated and shut out from the rest of the world. Seeing photos of friends and family online and hearing them talk on the phone is one thing but being able to visit their homes yourself – even for a cup of tea and a quick catch up can really help you start to feel more connected and centred.
7 – Embrace culture
A common source of sadness in old age is longing for the things that used to keep you entertained. Whether you enjoyed live music, art, comedy, drama or perhaps visiting museums, aging creatively can help you to feel good, keep your brain stimulated and rekindle old interests by making time to engage with culture and the arts.
8 – Make new friendships
Making new social connections can be a challenge as we get older. Our networks of colleagues, school friends and family change as we grow old and plugging the gaps in our social circles when we are less active in our day to day lives can be hard. Despite these challenges, making new friendships can make a huge and profound impact on your life giving you an outlet to share your stories, thoughts, frustrations and unique world view. Engaging in new hobbies, clubs and societies can be one way to connect with new people as well as considering companionship (see below).
9 – Keep up to date with technology
Technology has come a long way in the past few decades and the internet has opened up all kinds of possibilities. However, the internet and computer technology move quickly and can be a scary and confusing place if you have little experience with it. Using the internet can keep you up to date with news, allow you to connect with your friends and family through social media, can be used to read books and watch videos, do shopping and so much more. Asking for help from friends and family to show you how to get started can be a good place to start. Some local councils also run free classes where they help older people get to grips with new technology and its uses.
10 – Consider companionship and non-medical home care
Companionship is care that involves almost anything that isn’t medical or personal. It could be something as simple as having someone to visit the cinema with, play a board game with, watch television with or take you to hospital appointments and to visit family. They can also help you with light tasks around the home such as cooking fresh meals, doing ironing or making the bed for you that can help you’re home stay well-maintained.
Here at Senior Help, our companions are all experienced, deeply committed and passionate about enabling everyone to maintain their independence and enjoy later life. To find out more about how we can help you, please call us on 0800 254 5046, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website http://www.seniorhelp.org.uk/.