As you get older, your health needs and concerns inevitably change. At the same time, the core of what you want does not. Most seniors want the ability to keep participating in activities that they enjoy, even if they might do it with modifications or with different goals than when they were younger. Getting older also means that you may need to be more mindful of your health. Strength, flexibility, and even cognitive abilities may be more prone to decline if you don’t use them regularly, so it’s important to take steps to ensure your quality of life.
Your Health and You
As you age, it is worth thinking about what health means to you and what activities it is important to you to keep doing. Most older adults want the ability to remain independent for as long as possible, but there is a lot more to think about. If gardening is important to you, you will want to maintain the stamina to continue doing that. Most older adults don’t want to run marathons–nor do most younger adults–but some do, and if this is your goal, you may need to think about how to adjust your marathon training and expectations. Even if you have never been particularly physically active, it is important to maintain the ability to perform daily tasks. You may want to talk to your doctor about how to best do this.
A concern for many people as they get older is keeping their home accessible so that they can continue living there. This might mean such modifications as putting bars in the shower and near the toilet in the bathroom, lowering kitchen cabinets so that items are easier to reach and improving lighting to make moving about the house easier. One obstacle that can seem insurmountable is stairs. However, if you live in a two-story or bigger house, you don’t have to resign yourself to living mainly on a single floor or moving. Having small residential elevators can be life changing for older adults or people of any age who are concerned about accessibility. These can be affordably installed in most types of multi-story houses.
Your Mind and Emotions
Health isn’t just about the body. It is important to work on stress management and take care of your cognitive and mental health as well. Your cognition may change as you age, but you should not assume that a decline is inevitable. The key is staying active mentally just as you would remain physically active. Mental activity might mean continuing to work or it could mean learning something new, such as a language. Crossword puzzles and similar games are also good for cognition.
As for emotional health, one of the challenges older adults often face is becoming socially isolated. You might need to make an extra effort to get out into the world and interact with others. There might be programs for people your own age in your community, but you are not restricted to socializing within your own age group either. Look for hobby groups, volunteer opportunities and to churches or other spiritual communities for more chances to connect with others.