We’ve all heard the cliché “You are as young as you feel,” but is it really true? How can you help your loved ones who are aging stay young in both body and mind? Nothing can keep them young, of course, but there are things we can do to help them stay healthy and sharp. Here are a few ways that you can help your loved ones stay young and feel better as they get older.
Research has shown that those who feel younger really do live longer. Apparently attitude really is everything when it comes to aging! Having a positive outlook at any age can help you navigate through the challenging times that we all face, but it’s especially important to those who are elderly. Your outlook determines how well your coping skills function, how you deal with stress, and how you feel about yourself. Make it a positive practice, such as doing meditation, yoga or tai chi (especially suited to aging people), and you can have a more positive attitude about everything in life.
Along with this positive attitude, the aging population needs to stay physically active in order to age well and feel younger. This doesn’t mean doing Zumba or CrossFit six times a week (thankfully), it simply means finding an exercise they enjoy so that they aren’t sitting in a chair all of the time. Doctors now believe that being sedentary is as dangerous to your health as smoking. So, encourage your loved ones to get up, get dancing, swimming, bike riding, or walking to prevent health issues down the line. Finding a healthy physical outlet can also help bolster their social activity as well.
Another good tip for staying young is to stay connected to family, friends, and a community. Being social and not isolating themselves is a key practice when it comes to our aging loved ones. We are currently in a loneliness epidemic for all ages, so be sure to monitor your aging loved one to see if they are staying connected to family and friends. Staying connected will keep them feeling better about themselves, help them feel more plugged in, and will keep their positive outlook on the rise. Loneliness is dangerous just like sedentariness – it can be as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day – so make sure that loved ones have access to others. Nowadays, this can happen easily through technology, including the popular voice-activated devices such as Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, Google Home, and Apple Siri. These devices can also be programmed to call a friend or family member, contact 911 if needed, or even remind the person of upcoming doctor appointments or daily weather reports.
Another good device to consider is a medical alert system in case your loved one lives alone. Medical or life alert systems are wearable devices that can alert emergency personnel in case of a fall, stroke, or medical emergency. There are several researchers offering reviews of the best medical alert system available. These can give you and your loved one some peace of mind that services will be alerted in case something should happen to them, especially if they choose to age in place.
No matter what their situation is, encourage your loved ones to stay active mentally as well as physically. Those who keep learning into their later years will also feel younger in mind and spirit. This is a great time for them to take on new hobbies, study a different language, learn how to knit, travel with friends, or even donate time to a great cause. Encourage them to keep reading, learning, and challenging themselves in order to stay young mentally.
Along those lines, volunteering their time and expertise can also be a great way to stay young. Having a purpose, even as simple as walking dogs for an animal shelter, can keep your aging loved ones active and engaged in their local community. If they want to engage actively in volunteerism, they can sit on a board, raise money for a cause, or even do the administrative work for a charity such as mailing out flyers or posting on social media. Whatever cause is close to their heart makes a great opportunity to stay busy and thus feel younger for longer. This kind of activity not only keeps older adults busy and active, it also helps give their lives more meaning and purpose post-career and family.
So following these few simple steps can help your aging loved ones find peace, happiness, and satisfaction well into their elder years. It’s also great advice for anyone of any age!