This is what aging gracefully should look like, according to geriatrics experts

Achieving graceful aging encompasses multiple facets beyond mere exercise and dietary habits.

Geriatricians offer valuable insights into signs of successful aging and advise those seeking to improve their approach [1]:

1. Lifelong learning

According to Dr Parul Goyal from Vanderbilt Health, “We also look at their cognitive health in this … making sure that they are staying mentally strong, they are using their mind, engaging in exercises to stimulate their mind, which means they are learning like a new skill.”

Embracing new knowledge is crucial as we age, promoting cognitive health and keeping our minds active. Whether it’s acquiring new skills, languages or musical instruments, continuous learning creates new neural pathways, maintaining mental strength.

2. Building a supportive community

Socializing can help your brain health, too, said Dr Lee Lindquist, the chief of geriatrics at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago. Isolation and loneliness are pervasive issues, especially among older people.

Strengthening social connections within your community, whether with friends, family or local groups, plays a significant role in healthy aging.

3. Prioritizing physical health

A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, combined with the Mediterranean and DASH diets, helps maintain physical fitness.

Staying hydrated and engaging in regular physical activity are equally vital [2]. Walking, tai chi and strength training are excellent for muscle and heart health.

4. Pursuing enjoyable activities

Doing what you love, whether traveling, learning or spending time with loved ones, is central to aging gracefully. And suppose you’re doing things you enjoy.

In that case, you likely won’t find yourself bored, and boredom can be a red flag as you age, explained Robyn Golden, the associate vice president of social work and community health at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

“Feeling like the day is very, very long is not a good sign.” These activities not only combat boredom but also contribute to overall wellbeing, helping you manage chronic illnesses effectively.

5. Medication assessment

Frequent evaluation of the medications you take is essential. Speak to your doctor about discontinuing unnecessary drugs and optimizing your prescription regimen [3]. Your body’s needs change over time and medication should reflect these changes.

6. Future planning

Plan for potential health-related scenarios, including hospitalization, falls or memory loss. Discuss your preferences with loved ones to ensure your wishes are honored. This planning is not about end-of-life decisions but about managing the years leading up to that point [4].

It’s vital to start early and prioritize these aspects from a young age. Aging well is not solely determined by chronological age but by how you feel and your ability to maintain robust relationships, physical health and emotional wellbeing.


Photograph: Satura_/Envato
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