Looking at the attractive middle-aged lady patient sitting in front of me has prompted me to write about the way some people age gracefully - her fine facial features did not make her look 60 at all! But really,cosmetic overhauls aside, it takes more than maintaining a good physical appearance to age well.
Basically, ageing successfully involves a trio of low incidence of disease, good mental & physical shape and actively engaging with life itself. I’m sure you’ve heard of some friend or other who have got stricken by various diseases soon after retirement – the result of downgrading from an active working life to that of a passive boring life, devoid any positive activity.
Looking at Raquel Welch, Sigourney Weaver, Robert de Niro and Bill Clinton, one can see why the term “elderly” is now replaced with “senior citizens” or “seniors”. But its not just celebrities that benefit. Just look at some of the perks of being a senior:
- Things are cheaper – concessions for plane tickets, bus-rides, movies, theatre tickets and so on.
- No more rushing around – no rush-hour travel, Saturday grocery queues or peak-hour queues to see the dentist or doctor, once retired.
- More time for relationships and hobbies.
The fact remains that the 60 year old today is in better shape than a generation ago. A culmination of factors has made this possible: better nutrition, better healthcare and a greater awareness to healthy living. To age well, some tips that are recommended include:
- Planning long-term housing & financial needs and activities before retiring (retirement planning).
- Regular exercise – including the right type. Besides cardio, strength-enhancing and balancing activities are a must,eg jogging has to be combined with tai-chi.
- Eating well – not the same as over-eating!
- Keeping the mind active – reading, sudoku, music, even computer games.
- Maintaining contact with family and friends plus staying active, socially and productively engaged, including volunteering.
- Keeping tabs with the annual medical check-up, a real must.
If you’re over 50 and want to know whether you are ageing well and correctly, I recommend the taking the NARI Healthy Ageing Quiz.
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