NOTE: This article is from my Guest Author Jason Lewis. Enjoy!
Author Cecelia Ahern said, “Age is just a number, not a state of mind or a reason for any type of particular behavior.” While there exists no magic pill for immortality or a long, happy life, there are steps you can take to improve your quality of life if you’re 65 or older.
Savvy older folks recognize that their best currency to achieving happiness is taking steps to ensure good physical and mental health. Here are some suggestions to start.
Did you know that over 6 million people aged 65-plus are affected by depression? It is often linked to stressful life events such as losing a spouse, retirement, disease or side effects from medication.
Depression is not a normal part of aging, and sometimes it’s difficult to recognize in older loved ones because it often occurs with other illnesses or disabilities and tends to last longer. Red flags include loss of appetite or interest in socializing; memory issues; thoughts of suicide; difficulty concentrating.
Watch alcohol consumption
Our society promotes drinking as a way to relax and unwind — a glass of wine to de-stress at the end of a long day or a bit of brandy before bedtime. According to the National Council for Aging Care, many people who drink excessively as they age were heavy drinkers when they were younger.
Experts define alcohol abuse for people over 65 as consuming more than three drinks in a day or more than seven drinks in a week. Older adults can, however, successfully recover from alcohol addiction.
Monitor medication dependency
The majority of older adults who suffer from drug abuse are initially affected by accident. This population accounts for nearly 30 percent of medications prescribed nationwide; they also tend to use more over-the-counter medicines and share medicines with friends. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, prescription drug abuse among older adults is one of the fastest-growing health concerns in the United States.
Signs that often indicate there’s a problem include memory issues, changes in sleeping habits, unexplained bruises or chronic pain, lack of interest in usual activities, poor hygiene, changes in eating habits.
Seek ways to feel useful and needed
Get active within your community. Volunteer at your church, a soup kitchen, shelter or the local community center. Connect with a local charity to see how they can use your talents. Contact your library and offer to assist with children’s programs. Join a local knitting or crocheting group; make hats for newborns, prayer shawls or chemo caps.
Cliché, but true: You are what you eat. Enjoy a splurge, now and then, with a decadent piece of chocolate cake or a meal at your favorite restaurant. But as your metabolism slows with age, you may need to watch those calories a little more closely. Prepare meals that are high in fiber, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins to keep your energy levels high.
Share meals with family, friends and neighbors. A recent study showed that people who eat socially feel better about themselves, have a wider network of social and emotional support and feel more engaged.
Exercise — even if it’s something as simple as gardening, which can improve your immune response and dexterity — can add years to your life, and it’s never too late to start. You’ll reap plenty of benefits including decreased memory loss; reduced chronic pain; better sleep quality; improved flexibility, balance and posture; increased muscle mass, which will boost your metabolism; and a healthier immune system.
Engage your brain
Keep your brain active with puzzles, reading, learning new skills or indulging in your creative passions. Try brain-training programs that focus on processing speed, memory and reasoning ability. Travel somewhere different or spend time outside in nature.
Getting older doesn’t mean your health will automatically decline or you’ll lose your memory. Cope with inevitable changes by focusing on things for which you’re grateful; acknowledge and express your feelings. Remember to laugh and play and embrace the opportunity to reinvent yourself as you pass each landmark age.
About the Guest Author: My name is Jason Lewis from StrongWell.org and I am a personal trainer. In 2002, I became the primary caretaker for my mother after her surgery. I realized, as I helped her with her recovery, there is a special need for trainers that can assist the seniors in our community. I worked with my mother’s doctor, as well as other personal trainers, to create programs that are considerate to the special health needs of those over the age of 65.
Tags: Quality Of Life Definition, Quality Of Life Elderly, Quality Of Life Update