Old age brings many challenges, some real and many imagined. While it certainly does involve a major shift in one’s life, with children leaving home, retirement and bodily changes, there is absolutely no reason to panic or dive into depression. There are so many myths around old age, which we shall debunk one by one.
❏ Old age means failing health: This could not be farther from the truth. So many people maintain optimal health well into their golden years, thanks to a balanced lifestyle combining good health habits with stress-free living.
❏ Old age means declining memory: The brain needs exercise too. Solving brain teasers, crossword puzzles, etc as well as engaging in creative activity keeps your brain active and healthy.
❏ Old age means it is too late to learn new things: This is the worst myth that can send you spiralling into a vegetative state. Old age is the time to start new projects and try new experiences, because you have the backup of wisdom that comes with life experience.
Points to remember to stay healthy in old age:
Exercise is the number one contributor to longevity. Staying fit need not necessarily involve dumbbells and gym equipment. A nice long walk into the woods, some daily gardening work, playing a favorite outdoor sport or dancing to your favorite track all help keep one’s body agile, improve one’s memory and give a good night’s sleep. The idea is to not sit or lie down for long periods but keep your body moving instead.
2. Healthy diet
Make sure to include plenty of fibre, vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Fibre aids digestion and helps avoid constipation commonly seen in older adults. Also drink plenty of water, as chances of dehydration increase with old age.
3. Stay occupied
Keep yourself physically and mentally occupied. Actively engage in social activities, volunteer for a cause close to your heart. Explore new places, meet new people. Spend more time observing nature. Meditate.
4. Sleep well
Many people develop sleep problems as they age, because of their sedentary lifestyle. If we are energetic during the day, we will fall asleep faster in the night. Try to sleep early, and find time to unwind before going to bed.
Old age is never the end to anything. Keep dreaming and maintain high energy levels as you age, and you will realise that old age can be just as exciting. Adam & Eve SMC General Medicine Department has set new standards in healthcare with a reassuring blend of competence with personalized care.