Successful ageing has a lot to do with our habits. Healthy habits into your senior years can assist you to stay healthy and independent longer. But what habits should you add to the top of your list?
While some of these may be obvious, some may provide food for thought around what to give greater importance to as you get older.
1. Eat well
While dietary advice abounds, what does it truly mean to eat well? The research shows that the people who live the longest eat mostly a plant-based diet. Our digestive systems slow down with age, so it becomes even more important to eat a wide-variety of high-fibre fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
2. Stay hydrated
Seniors can be prone to dehydration as one of the physiological changes that accompany ageing is a reduced sensation of thirst.
Drinking eight glasses of water a day can help you stay hydrated so that your mind feels sharp and your body is energised.
3. Physical activity
Those that stay active in some shape or form as they get older have better health outcomes than those who stop doing any form of exercise. Exercise not only has great physical health benefits but also helps alleviate depression and improves memory and energy.
Doing a mix of strength training and cardio can not only keep your weight under control and your heart healthy, but it can help with balance and strength to keep you on your feet for longer.
4. Good night’s sleep
Healthy seniors never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Frequent waking and insomnia in the night are common among seniors, so having a sleep routine every night to wind down and cue your body for sleep becomes even more important. Avoid screens before bed, turn the lights down and ensure your bedroom is comfortable and quiet.
5. Stay connected
Staying connected is an important habit of healthy seniors – whether that’s with people who are important to you, activities you love or a purpose within the community. Loneliness has a range of adverse health impacts, so recognising the importance of having a support network for later years is really important.
6. Prioritise preventative health
Preventative health care can help ensure your health stays on track. Taking advantage of the free check-ups and health screenings available to seniors can help pick up a range of health issues in their early stages. It’s also important to get any vaccinations to prevent influenza, pneumonia and shingles.
7. Plan ahead
While focusing on staying as healthy as possible is the goal of healthy seniors, they also know the importance of planning for the time where they may not be in the best of health and could need people to make decisions on their behalf. Advance care planning is an important step in ensuring that your wishes are carried out right to the end. As well as documenting these wishes, it’s important to have discussions with family and friends and to appoint enduring power of attorneys who will ensure your wishes are met.