“Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.” Though aging can sometimes get a bad rap, as British rock legend David Bowie notes, something magical happens as we age. The problem is that while the maturation of our psyche is a good thing, the maturing of our bodies often isn’t. But there are things you can do to make sure the second half of your life is as amazing as the first. If you are approaching the golden age of 65, here are the five best healthcare and lifestyle tips to ensure you will be healthy, protected and able to truly enjoy this time in your life.
1. Go for a Walk
This simple activity can yield endless benefits. Thirty minutes a day is recommended but you can split that time up into a few shorter strolls if that is too much in one go.
Walking is low-impact but if you push yourself to a brisk jaunt that gets your heart rate going, it delivers more blood and oxygen to the head, benefiting the brain cells. Walking can also help boost your mood, improve sleep, control weight, maintain bone and muscle strength, and decreases the risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease.
2. Take Measures to Prevent Falls
As we age, we become more vulnerable to falls and the risk of injury becomes greater, so prevention is key. You can fall-proof your pad by getting rid of trip hazards like throw rugs, loose carpeting, and electrical cords. In addition, line your hallways with nightlights for better visibility in the dark.
Interestingly, a study supported by the Hebrew Senior Life Institute for Aging Research found that 52 percent of falls reported by people over the age of 65 occurred among people who were barefoot at home or wearing only socks, so wearing shoes with decent support, even when inside, will reduce your risk of falling.
3. Keep Current on Health Screenings
After the age of 50, men should be screened for prostate cancer annually and women should have began having mammograms to check for breast cancer. And those are just the big ones.
You should also take skin cancer screenings into consideration because our skin thins as we age and becomes less elastic and drier. So not only do wrinkles appear but bruises and abrasions do not heal as quickly, and our skin becomes more sensitive to the ultraviolet rays that can cause skin cancer.
4. Plan for Healthcare during Retirement
Retirement does not mean you simply pick up a hobby and sit in a rocking chair all day, as people like to joke. Retiring from your job means more than just not going to work anymore. One of the major changes that occurs at retirement is that you will no longer receive benefits from your employer, so it may be time to consider a new form of healthcare.
Though nearly everyone receives Original Medicare with coverage for hospital stays and doctor visits, your needs may vary. Medicare Part A and B involve premiums and you may find that your health necessities require supplemental coverage, so looking into your Medicare options before the age of 65 is not a bad idea.
5. Maintain a Social Life
One concern that many seniors express is the feeling of being disconnected, so maintaining social contact is of vital importance in the golden years of our lives. Visiting with family, especially grandchildren, helps senior citizens to feel connected, particularly those seniors who have problems with mobility. These social visits also improve disposition and outlook. Seniors that report feeling isolated also report more difficulty completing daily tasks like bathing, eating, and managing stairs.
Sadly, those who experience feelings of loneliness and isolation often die earlier than individuals who are involved in their communities and families, so the connection forged between human beings is important. If you don’t have family, socializing can be more challenging but committing to volunteer work or becoming involved with your local church can help you connect and stay connected.
As Bowie suggests, these golden years are the time of your life when you get to be the best version of yourself. Following these few tips — health screenings, walking, preventing falls, prepping for healthcare, and staying connected — will help you ensure that the best version of you gets to live your best life.