One thing is becoming clear. Thanks to scientific, medical and technological advances, people are generally living longer and healthier lives. For the first time ever, much of the world’s population can now expect to live into their sixties and later. In fact, by 2050, it’s expected that over 2 billion people in the world will be aged 60 or over! Of course, with more people growing older, more of us want to know what to expect from the aging process and what we can do to lead healthy and happy lives well into our later years. Here’s some more information on the subject to help you achieve these goals!
We all know that we do age, but few understand why. Put simply, we age because the elements that create our bodies undergo molecular and cellular damage over the course of time. As we grow older, we become weaker and experience an increased risk of contracting disease. This can all lead to health issues that cause uncomfortable or unpleasant symptoms, as well as a general slowing down of how quickly and effectively we can engage in activities we used to carry out with little thought. The speed at which you age can come down to countless factors, ranging from genetics to socioeconomic status, experiences of injury, the effort we put into maintaining our health and fitness and more.
Common Health Issues Experienced with Age
There are a number of conditions that many of us become vulnerable to, prone to and experience in older age. Some common examples include:
- Hearing loss – the cells in our ears are damaged and flatten over time, which can result in partial or full hearing loss. If you experience any changes to your hearing, get in touch with an audiologist who will be able to diagnose any issues and recommend the best hearing loss prevention products.
- Cataracts – ageing or injury can cause changes in the tissue that makes up your eye lens, resulting in cataracts. Visit an optometrist on a regular basis (once every two years) or whenever you experience changes to your eyes or vision. They’ll be able to diagnose potential issues early on and refer you on the best course of treatment.
- Back and neck pain – as we age, cartilage can begin to wear away. Our discs can also begin to lose water, causing friction or inflammation that results in back pain. A chiropractor will be able to take a look at your back and your symptoms to recommend the best means of relief.
- Osteoarthritis – osteoarthritis is extremely common in elderly individuals. If you experience inflammation or pain in your joints, book an appointment with your doctor, who will be able to diagnose your condition and prescribe pain relief.
- Diabetes – diabetes is more common in the elderly, who have been exposed to sugar for longer periods of time than other members of the population. Diabetes needs to be carefully managed, so consult your doctor who will be able to recommend lifestyle changes that could help alleviate symptoms and risk.
- Depression – it’s easy to experience isolation and loneliness in old age. Seeing loved ones passing can contribute further to this. The good news is that there are plenty of charities out there dedicated to helping elderly communities. Contact them for support during these times.
- Urinary incontinence – our muscles can weaken as we age, including those in our urinary system. Incontinence is nothing to be embarrassed about and, nowadays, there are plenty of incontinence pants and products that can disguise accidents.
Of course, there are many factors that can impact your experience of ageing. Lifestyle changes can help to slow the ageing process and reduce your chances of experiencing diseases and conditions that are commonly seen in the eldery. While we do all need to age, you can make the process a little more comfortable by doing what you can to lead a healthier lifestyle. Some factors that you might want to consider are highlighted below!
Eating a Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet is essential for anyone of any age group. It provides your body with the fuel it needs to live your life to the fullest. Over the course of our lives, many of us fall into bad habits. We begin to eat unhealthily for a number of reasons. Some of us associate junk food and unhealthy foods with “treats” and feel that they taste better. Some of us find that unhealthy foods are cheaper and more affordable. Some of us opt for junk foods and fast foods out of convenience. As we age, getting to the supermarket can be a little harder. We may opt for tinned or frozen foods, with lower nutritional value, to reduce the amount we have to visit these stores. Some of us find it difficult to peel or chop fresh foods due to conditions such as arthritis. Where possible, do what you can to counteract these challenges and overcome them. There are a number of tools out there that can make cooking a little easier. Electric carving knives can help cut food more easily. Electric tin openers can help open tins for us. You may even want to consider a healthy food delivery service that provides you with pre-cooked or pre-prepared meals that are much more easy to make.
As we grow older, we grow weaker. So, it’s not all too surprising that many of us aren’t as active as we might once have been. But exercise is still important and you should try to incorporate some sort of aerobic exercise into your week. This doesn’t necessarily mean having to hit the gym. Instead, you can take part in more leisurely activities that still get your heart pumping. Swimming is a good option that is easy on the joints. Activities such as gardening or gentle walks are great too!
Of course, there are many other elements of ageing that haven’t been covered here, as well as alternative steps towards a healthier lifestyle. But hopefully, some of the information provided above will help you to get your journey to better health in old age off to a good start!