If you’re holding onto a stereotypical concept of growing older that involves an inactive, lonesome lifestyle spent in a rocking chair in front of the TV every day, it is time to rethink ! The secret to healthy aging is knowing the facts and debunking the misconceptions to embrace a healthy, dynamic lifestyle regardless of age.
Expect to Be Depressed
While loneliness and isolation can cause feelings of sadness, depression isn’t a usual aspect of growing older. In fact, research indicates that older adults are less likely to experience depression than younger adults. However, if you believe that an older person you know is battling depression, there are effective treatment plans available. Ask them to consult with a physician for help.
You Can’t Learn New Things
Actually, the opposite is true. Lifelong learning is important to keeping cognitive functioning as sharp as you can. A recent study showed improved brain health in elderly participants who picked up a new skill or enrolled in a course or book club. And, the social rewards that come with learning something new are an added bonus!
You’ll Have to Slow Down
Exercise is crucial for everyone, in spite of age. While fall risk is certainly something to consider for the elderly, there are many ways to be physically active that are appropriate regardless of any chronic health issues or concerns. Ask the physician for tips first, but in general, low impact activities like balance/strengthening exercises, swimming, and tai chi are often a great place to start.
Put the Keys Away
There is a popular belief that as we grow older, we all will need to give up the car keys. Although there are medical conditions that can make driving dangerous, such as reduced vision or Alzheimer’s disease, many older adults can continue to safely drive – often more safely, in fact, than younger drivers. Routine physical exams will guide the doctor in determining when and if it’s time for an older individual to stop driving.
Dad Had Dementia, Which Means You Will, Too
While genes do play a role in someone’s risk of dementia, there are other aspects that are within our control to minimize that risk. The lifestyle choices we make, such as eating healthy, staying physically active, keeping blood pressure levels in check, and not smoking, are all great preventative measures.
It’s Too Late to Give Up Smoking Now
Perhaps you know an older adult who believes that since they have smoked their whole life and haven’t had any significant problems, there’s no sense in quitting now. But research has proven that quitting smoking brings immediate health benefits – within a matter of hours, as a matter of fact. First, there is a reduction in the carbon monoxide levels in the blood. Within a few weeks, lung function increases and circulation improves. There is also a decrease in cold and flu symptoms, decreased risk for bronchitis and pneumonia, and a diminished risk for cancer, heart disease, and lung disease.
Let Hearts at Home In-Home Care, a top provider of home care in Leawood and nearby communities, help an older adult you love enjoy this season in life in the most healthy and happy way possible! Reach out to us at 913-440-4209 to learn about the many ways we can help.