Growing older is a part of life that no one really looks forward to. We imagine a life of limited physical capabilities, dwindling mental capacity, and a lot of time spent in loneliness. But life doesn’t have to be that way, at any age! Even in your 80s, life can be fulfilling, exciting, and worthwhile. If you’re looking for ways to continue thriving well into your 80s – or you know someone who is – keep reading for some great tips that will help you have a great time while minimizing risk of physical or mental issues.
- Stay Positive
Growing older for many people is not a positive experience. You may see friends and family members pass away, your body may not work quite like it used to, and daily activities that used to be a breeze may be challenging for you now.
All of these things may be true but dwelling on them will prevent us from finding the good in life. It’s true that you might be a bit more limited than you have been before, and while it’s easy to allow this to create negative feelings, it is vital that you focus on positive thoughts. Since the elderly population tend to suffer more from depression, it’s important to remember to stave off these negative thoughts instead of letting them get the best of you.
If you have a hard time staying positive on your own, enlist the help of family members or friends to cheer you up. You may also want to enjoy movies, tv shows, or books that have typically brought you joy or made you laugh.
- Get Physical
As the old saying goes “idle hands are the devil’s playthings,” but in the situation of growing older, the devil here is depression and illness. The only way to stave off these crippling things is to stay busy. As you age, it’s important to be as physically active as your health will allow. Once we stop doing things, our already struggling bodies will simply give in to the aging process and submit itself to all the ills that can befall us during that time.
If you are a senior citizen, look for ways you can stay active. Take up walking with a neighbor, join a water aerobics class, or find a hobby that keeps your hands moving. Whatever activity you decide on, it should be active enough to keep your moving, but should not be painful to do. If you have arthritis in your hands, learning to knit or crochet may not be the right activity, but swimming could be just the right thing.
- Get Good Care
There’s no denying that an aging body has more health demands than a younger one. Our organs are slower, our muscles disappear, and even standing upright can be a challenge. It’s important, then, to take good care of yourself. If that isn’t possible, enlist the help of others to take care of you. It’s nice if you have a family member to help you out, but oftentimes they are inexperienced at caring for the elderly, and whether we like to admit it or not, our needs are specialized and may require professional assistance.
If possible, discuss your needs with your family and ask for their help in determining if professional care is needed. If you choose to hire a nurse or enter a facility, look for experienced caretakers with good references. Communication is key, so make sure it’s someone you feel comfortable with.
- Consider Emergency Alerts
If you live alone or are regularly by yourself, you might want to consider an emergency medical alert system. These usually consist of some type of device that you wear or keep near you. If you fall, you can touch a button to send an alert that will automatically send help to you. There are also apps, GPS, landline options, and fall detectors that will have your back in the event of an accident.
- Get Your Checkups
As mentioned above, an aging body simply has more requirements. Just like an older car needs more regular attention, you, too, will need to see your doctor more often for regular checkups. Catching problems before they become too big to handle is essential for elder care, so don’t delay your appointments.
When you do see a doctor, make sure to follow their recommendations and take any medications prescribed to you. You might find that even if you’ve been relatively healthy for your whole life you might be taking more mediations now that you’re older. This can be off-putting, but don’t forget that it’s all part of taking care of yourself well enough to have a happy and thriving life well into your 80s.