Eight Tips for Growing Old Gracefully and Safely

Growing old is a beautiful process to celebrate, as you add more wisdom and knowledge to your collection of years. When well prepared and taken care of, getting old could be one of the most enjoyable periods of your life.

But as much as growing old is a rewarding experience, it also comes with many challenges, especially on the physical and mental front. This is why seniors need to do everything they can to age gracefully and healthily. As a senior citizen, here are eight things to do in order to enjoy the process of growing old:

Get an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer

Now is the time to think of your estate and how you want it handled once you’re gone. Have a will for your loved ones to know your final wishes. Appoint a power of attorney to someone you trust to make financial and health decisions on your behalf, just to be well prepared in case you become incapacitated. Consult experienced and reputable attorney Avigayil Pearlman about these matters and put your mind at ease.

If you already have a will, now is the time to update it. Review your beneficiary designations and make sure they’re still accurate. After significant life changes, such as marriage, divorce, or having children, update the will to reflect the changes.

Other issues to discuss with your lawyer include guardianship for any grandchildren, the sale of your home, and funeral arrangements. Additionally, if you have family conflicts, resolve them so everyone is on good terms when you’re gone. Remember to take care of any outstanding debts, update your insurance policies, and organize important documents.

Invest in Long-term Care Insurance

One of the senior citizens' most significant challenges is the high cost of long-term care. The care is not covered by traditional health insurance or Medicare. Long-term care insurance will help cover the costs of nursing home care, in-home care, and assisted living. Have a policy in place to offset the costs. Even if you're healthy now, getting long-term care insurance is a good idea while you're still young and healthy enough to qualify for it. It will also be cheaper, and you'll have more coverage.

Stay Physically Active

Seniors need to stay physically active to maintain their health and independence. Exercise prevents chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It can also reduce the risk of falls and improve cognitive function.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that seniors get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. You can break it down into 30-minute sessions five times per week. Also, do strength training exercises at least twice a week.

If you’re not used to exercising, start slow and gradually increase the intensity and duration. You can also join a senior fitness class or participate in a SilverSneakers program at your local gym.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Now is the time to pay attention to your diet and ensure you eat healthy, nutrient-rich foods. A healthy diet improves your energy levels, mood, and overall health. It can also reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, one quarter with whole grains and the other quarter with lean protein. Also, drink plenty of water and limit the intake of salt, sugar, and saturated and trans fats. Because your bones get weaker as you age, get enough calcium and vitamin D. If possible, get these nutrients from food sources. If not, take supplements.

Get Regular Health Screenings

As you age, get regular health screenings to detect problems early. These screenings can catch diseases such as cancer in their early stages when they’re most treatable. If possible, regularly schedule these screenings:

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Diabetes
  • HIV
  • Immunizations
  • Lung cancer
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sleep apnea

Quit Smoking

Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases. It also lowers your risk of falls and improves your overall health. If you're struggling to quit, get help from your doctor or a smoking cessation program.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

Drinking alcohol in moderation, such as a glass, or two of red wine during lunch has been associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and heart attack. On the other hand, too much alcohol leads to health problems such as liver disease, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It can also increase the risk of falls and interact with medications.

Stay Connected

Staying connected helps seniors stay mentally and emotionally healthy. Isolation and loneliness are linked to an increased risk of cognitive decline, depression, and other chronic health problems.

Join a social club, take a class, volunteer, or participate in religious or spiritual activities. Stay connected with family and friends by meeting up with them in person or keeping in touch through phone calls, emails, and social media.

Staying Healthy and Active Doesn't Have To Be a Challenge

These are just a few things seniors should do to stay healthy and active. For more tips, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. You can also talk to other seniors or join a senior fitness program to get ideas and motivation. Take your medication as prescribed and see your doctor regularly to maintain your health.