Some call it the golden age of your life while others think of it as the last hurrah. Old age is a stage of life that not everyone has the privilege to encounter. After a long lifetime of memories to look back on, growing old could be the first time that the pace of your life has slowed in decades. This is especially true if you had a career and/or a family to raise. Now that the list of responsibilities on your plate has shortened, how will you spend these precious years?
Many people look at approaching old age as a nerve-wracking period. You are likely bearing witness to the effects of aging on your body, with muscles, bones, joints, and organs not working the way that they used to. Maybe you try to put off old age with cosmetic maintenance and hope that you will feel as young as you may look.
The key to approaching old age is to be prepared for it. When it sneaks up on you, it can be difficult to face the truth that old age is officially here. Maybe you left it until too late to make some major decisions about your future. Here are a few ways that you can start preparing now that will set you up to thrive as you get older.
Focus on a Healthy Diet
Health becomes a major aspect of your life the older you get. You are more likely to encounter aches, pains, and ailments as your body slowly deteriorates. But you can slow down that process with healthier choices today, such as a balanced diet. Instead of being apathetic about your dietary choices in your advancing years, consider adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Focus on whole grains, lean meats, and dairy products as well. This nutrition plan can provide the nutrients that your body needs to maintain its functions for as long as possible. Some elderly individuals make the mistake of being reckless with their habits, but if you are intentional about making healthy decisions when it comes to food, you will have a better chance of retaining independence and mobility.
Make a Long-Term Care Plan
Even if you lead a very healthy lifestyle, the onset of aging is inevitable, which means that your care needs will change at some point. Planning could be the key to a smooth transition into a new life stage. If you want to stay at home and age in place, you may need to start prepping the house to handle your new level of care with safer bathrooms, less slippery surfaces, and more accessible rooms. Aging in place is growing in popularity, especially with the number of abuse scandals that can happen in nursing homes. If you do choose to live in a long-term care facility and encounter instances of neglect or abuse, get in touch with a nursing home lawyer for assistance. Sometimes these facilities are the only option if you have a higher need for care, so do the research ahead of time to find a location that will suit your needs and lifestyle. Involve your adult children in the discussion about your future care plan as well because they may want to be involved in supporting you.
Physical exercise is extremely important for your long-term health. If you are leading a sedentary lifestyle currently, then you may be setting yourself up for more pain and ailments later in life. Exercise can help maintain your muscles, bone strength, joints, and working organs which will be vital the older you get. Movement improves your cardiovascular system as well, which plays a large role in delivering the nutrients you get from a healthy diet to your cells.
It is important to remember that the way you exercise matters. High-impact activities are no longer safe for your body as it cannot take the amount of punishment that it used to. Find low-impact activities that can still incorporate movement and pushes your muscles. Maybe you can take up swimming, bicycling, fast walking, tennis, or pickleball.
Activities that you enjoy are great for mental health, and this will become crucial as you age. Mental capabilities could be one area of health that starts to decline, which can be extremely difficult. Hobbies are the perfect way to keep your mind, and your hands, engaged. It works in the same way that exercise does for a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it will be. Take stock of the hobbies that you have now. Are they going to be sustainable when your body starts to change or will you need to find new activities to enjoy? Start preparing to thrive in your old age now by finding hobbies that give you joy and will keep your mind engaged.
Preparation Can Make a Difference
When you let old age sneak up on you without any preparation, it could be too late to make the necessary changes. Even if you do, some of the damage that has been done could have been prevented or slowed if you had begun these behaviors earlier.
For this reason, you should never think that it is too early to prepare for your golden years. Start eating healthy today. Think about your care plan today. Consider how you will lead a more active lifestyle and select hobbies that you can maintain for years to come. By planning ahead, you will have a far better chance of thriving in the golden age of life.