Ageing well has a lot to do with our habits, particularly ones that we are committed to over a significant period of time. Now these aren’t just any old habits, there are select, healthy habits that impact both our physical and mental wellbeing. Note: Ageing well isn’t the inclusion of one healthy habit into your routine, nor is it the starting and stopping of various habits at different points in time, it’s the coexistence of all the healthy habits as part of a daily routine.
So if you’ve ever looked over at a friend, or acquaintance, and wondered how they seem to have their health so well on track, they’re probably doing a combination of all or at least some of the habits we’ve outlined below.
Have a sense of purpose
Purpose is whatever gets you up in the morning, keeps you sociable and excited to take on each day. Unfortunately, as we age, and retire, purpose can become something rather elusive. But fear not, it is something that we can all regain. Purpose is a broad term, and it can mean something different to each person. For one person it might be picking up their grandchildren from school and spending some quality time with them, for another it might be working part time for a local business. If you currently don’t have a structured week that is at least partially filled with meaningful activities, it’s worth taking a look at something that could interest you to provide you with more purpose.
Focus on healthy relationships
Being sociable is not only about meeting friends and family out for a nice meal, it’s about focusing on spending quality time with the people you love and whose company you enjoy. Not only does it reduce isolation, but does wonders for one’s wellbeing in general. This is particularly true if your mobility is limited and you are unable to get out and connect with people with ease. Whether it’s inviting family and friends over to visit you, or making use of aged care support such as a transport service to get you out and about, staying involved in positive relationships will help you feel connected to others in a way that no television series or magazine can.
Adopt an age appropriate diet
Ensuring a healthy diet is a no brainer, but ensuring your diet suits the needs of your body’s requirements at a more senior age is often forgotten. Foods rich in nutrients become vital as you age, and it’s important to know what foods to incorporate into your breakfast bowl and dinner plate on a daily basis. Fibre is one of these important foods, and its benefits for seniors include reducing the risk of diabetes, heart disease and colon cancer, as well as reducing blood pressure.
Experts reveal that men over the age of 50 should eat around 30 grams of fibre per day, while women over this age should eat around 20 grams per day. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend Incorporating wholegrains, beans and a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet if you haven’t done so already. While these aren’t the only important food groups to include, they are some of the most important for seniors.
Consider preventative care
While it may be a topic many would rather leave untouched, preventative care is a must. Those who are recovering from an illness will tell you that prevention is definitely better than cure. This doesn’t have to be a chore though. You can make use of short term restorative care to maintain your independence and improve your general wellbeing, and you can find a physician you trust and speak to them about the annual checks important for your specific age. This way, any potential illnesses can be detected as early as possible, or may even be avoided entirely. Screenings for heart problems, blood pressure and cholesterol checks, eye tests, prostate exams and mammograms are just some of the screenings important to those who are ageing.
While these are by no means the only the habits you could include in your routing to ensure a healthy lifestyle, there are some of the most important ones to consider. Purpose, social connections, a healthy diet and preventative care are vital habits to commit to in the long-term.