Path to Healthy Aging
No one wants to get old if it means giving up the activities we love. But, while it's pointless to try to stop the process of aging altogether, there's obvious reasons to a least try to slow it down. We are all trying to live longer, be more fruitful and live healthier lives. The quality of life is what is important and we can do this by delaying the deterioration that can come with getting older. But the big question is: How do we do that?
I believe we need to embrace a holistic point of view. In order to make our golden years, golden, we need to take care of our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social health. The aging baby boomers are a huge success story. They are not only living longer but the huge majority of them live outside of care facilities and live an active life.
Books on Aging
Doing weight-bearing exercises at least 3 to 4 times a week is the best form of exercise to prevent osteoporosis. Beware that there are certain medications that can weaken bones. These include glucocorticoids for arthritis and asthma. As well some anti-seizure drugs and sleeping pills can have an effect on bone health. Check with your health provider for more information.
Taking an adequate amount of calcium and Vitamin D goes a long way in building and maintaining good bone health. Osteoporosis Canada recommends taking 1,500 mg of calcium and 800 IU of Vitamin D each day after age 50. There are a number of good food sources that provide calcium and these include low fat dairy products, canned fish with soft bones (salmon), and dark green leafy vegetables. You can also get Vitamin D from eggs.
If you are a smoker, stop smoking as it contributes to the loss of bone mass. And get your doctor to give you a bone density test especially if osteoporosis runs in your family.
Eye and Hearing Health
The warning signs of vision problems include an increased sensitivity to light and difficulty distinguishing colors. There are also some hidden signs of vision loss and these include social withdrawal, or being less active. If you are a smoker, quit. People who smoke are 3 to 4 times more likely to develop age related macular degeneration. It is a good idea to increase you intake of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as fruits and dark green leafy vegetables as they contain nutrients that support the macula. Keep active and exercise to prevent high blood pressure and diabetes which contribute to the risk of eye problems.
Many older people have inner ear hearing loss. Signs of hearing loss include speaking louder than necessary or constantly asking for people to repeat themselves. If you favor one ear over the other or thinking that people are mumbling, then perhaps its time to get your hearing checked. There are many assistive devices such as hearing aids for both ears.
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