The art of healthy aging

October has been designated as Older Persons Month, globally, and by Cayman’s Department of Children and Family Services.

Today, let’s talk about healthy aging and living a robust and vibrant life as we mature. I recall taking a lovely 75-year-old lady to lunch at the Lighthouse some years ago. When I asked her how she felt to be 75, she promptly responded, “Surprised.”

Yes, aging is surprising and inevitable.

According to Chris Crowley, author of the New York Times best-seller, “Younger Next Year,” 75 percent of decline that is experienced in aging can be avoided through a healthy, active lifestyle, and, according to him, we can “turn back our biological clock.”

Growing older, if approached in a healthy manner, may provide opportunities for more adventure, fitness, fun and enjoyment than you have ever thought possible. We see evidence of people who continue to stay active in our local districts, such as Clinton Whittaker of North Side, who continues to walk and ride his bike well into the senior years. Active people live life more fully.

Lifestyle tips to help you ease into the golden years with style, health and energy include the following:

Accept the physical changes that aging brings by developing a positive mind set, which equals a healthy body.

Cultivate a sense of humor. Laughing at what age brings makes the heart merry, the countenance cheerful, and the younger generation more likely to hang around and enjoy your company.

Eat well, eat regularly, and eat living foods. Nutrition is vital for life, and many seniors see an immediate improvement in mental and physical functioning when they get support from Meals on Wheels or family members who ensure they are eating. Note that a high-powered smoothie provides good nutrition in a blender.

Keep active daily. Find a friend to walk with or join a senior exercise program (especially in water).

Keep your brain actively engaged by setting goals, writing, reading, doing puzzles, Suduko, chess, cards, dominos, and remembering phone numbers.

Rest when you are tired. Napping is another diminishing luxury in today’s busy world, and sleep is important for health.

Live generatively. Think about others and do for others, rather than focusing on your troubles or health. People who live this way are more likely to enjoy a long, productive and happy life.

Keep good company – loneliness and isolation can lead to depression and despondency. Join a church or take part in community and social activities that are of interest. Cayman offers many options.

How we live life and accept aging is a personal choice. We all know people of great age who approach daily life with enthusiasm, mobility, purpose and strength.

Donna Mitchell is a lifestyle consultant specializing in weight management and self-help. She can be contacted on [email protected]

1 COMMENT

  1. Excellent points, especially the need with aging adults to keep good company and live generatively. According to the latest census bureau report, more than 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day for the next 19 years! That makes safe and social housing a vital need. There’s a book on senior housing written by the pioneers of the U.S. cohousing movement, Charles Durrett and Katie McCamant that offers some thought-provoking solutions: http://www.amazon.com/The-Senior-Cohousing-Handbook-Independent/dp/0865716110. There’s more on cohousing at http://www.cohousingpartners.com too.

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