Aging isn’t always fun. New health concerns arise, our bodies move slower, and cognitive functioning can seem to change overnight. However, aging doesn’t mean enjoying life any less. If you’re looking for ways to improve the quality of your life in your Golden Years (or the life of an aging loved one), keep the following tips and habits in mind.
- Stay Connected with Loved Ones
In this age of social distancing, it’s easy to become more isolated and experience feelings of loneliness. This is especially true for seniors who may have limited mobility or are unable to drive. Lack of socialization and personal connection has been shown to correlate with higher risk of dementia and a shorter life span. Take every effort to stay connected with family, friends, and your surrounding community. Plan socially distant family gatherings in well-ventilated areas, call friends regularly, and use video chatting to catch up with distant loved ones. If you’re looking out for an aging family member or friend, encourage them to connect with others, in whatever capacity they can and are comfortable with.
2. Stay Active
A sedentary lifestyle can have many terrible consequences on your overall health. Listen to your body. You might not be able to go on a 5-mile run like you once could, but there are plenty of ways to keep your body in motion each day. Try a new stretching routine, check out an online yoga class, and go on daily walks to keep your joints and muscles in fighting shape. Daily activity can do wonders for your physical health; those who regularly exercise have been observed to have improved immune and digestive functioning, lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease – and that’s just for starters. In addition to physical health, regular activity can improve your mental wellbeing exercise is scientifically proven to boost mood, ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, and decrease feelings of stress.
3. Use Technology to Your Advantage
There are so many new devices available that can help you improve the overall quality of daily life, from enhancing communication to easing symptoms of medical ailments. From heart monitors to health alert systems, there are devices that can streamline an array of tasks and help ease many concerns. Let’s take a look at a few examples of tech for seniors that you might not have heard of yet:
- Essential tremor bracelet: If you (or your aging loved ones) struggle with essential tremor (ET), doing tasks with your hands such as eating, drinking, or writing can feel nearly impossible. Fortunately, there are now wrist devices for tremors that have been designed to calibrate to the wearer’s tremor; this may help reduce the involuntary shaking commonly related to this condition. The wristband functions by stimulating the nerves that cause essential tremor during dedicated sessions.
- Uber for 50+: If you or your loved one are unable to drive, services like GoGoGrandparent can help. It makes it easy for individuals without smartphones to access Uber rides with a simple phone call. In addition to transportation, this service can also be used to run errands, such as grocery delivery or medication pickup.
4. Stimulate the Mind Regularly
As we age, our brain changes, gradually shrinking in volume with each year. This can cause some of the nerve cells in your brain to shrink as well, and they may lose connection with other nerve cells. These changes may be the cause of reduced cognitive function in aging individuals; however, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your brain sharp – namely, participating in mentally stimulating activities. A 2017 study published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry proposed that learning new skills in later life may help reduce or delay cognitive changes associated with old age.
Your Golden Years should be just that – golden. To improve quality of life in later years, consider incorporating some of the above tips and behaviors into your daily routine. Stay connected with loved ones, remain active, use technology to your advantage, and