September is Healthy Aging® Month, which inspired us to look into this important question: Are you doing enough to ensure a long, healthy life? Our research led us to a thought-provoking article entitled “10 Tips for Healthy Aging,” published by Dartmouth-Hitchcock a nonprofit academic health system in New England. Following is a summary of the article:
TIP #1: Live an active life — including activities you enjoy.
Too many people quickly lose interest in their routine because it’s not something they like to do. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
TIP #2: Eat healthy foods, and start with cutting the salt.
Overconsumption of sodium can lead to hypertension and cardiovascular disease. An easy way to cut your sodium intake: Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods.
TIP #3: Maintain your brain through cognitive stimulation.
Many people believe memory loss is a normal part of aging. It isn’t. A lifestyle with cognitive stimulation, such as reading or puzzle-solving, can slow cognitive decline.
TIP #4: Look for opportunities to cultivate relationships.
Keep open lines of communication with family and friends, especially in the aftermath of a significant loss or life change. Better yet, schedule times to meet with people who are important to you.
TIP #5: Get adequate sleep (it’s not just for teenagers!).
To get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night, develop a regular schedule with a bedtime routine. Avoid watching TV or surfing the internet while in bed.
TIP #6: Give stress a good, swift kick in the rear end.
It’s estimated that stress causes or complicates more than 90% of illness. While we cannot entirely avoid stressful situations, we can learn better techniques for coping with stress.
TIP #7: Practice preventive medicine.
You can do a lot to avoid illness and injury in the first place. For example, maintain a healthy weight, undergo skin cancer screening, and get a yearly flu vaccine.
TIP #8: Take charge of your own health.
Much of our health is controlled by our own actions. The more you participate in your own healthcare, the more satisfied you’ll tend to be with the care you receive.
TIP #9: Make connections in your community.
People who engage in meaningful community activities, such as volunteering or joining a book club, report feeling healthier and less depressed. The opportunities are just about limitless.
TIP #10: Express your wishes through an advance directive.
An advance directive (also known as a living will) enables someone you appoint to control important healthcare decisions when you cannot do so yourself.
At Amplifon Hearing Health Care, we’d like to suggest an 11th tip: having your hearing tested on a regular basis. Good hearing can benefit you in many ways, including a reduced risk of depression, dementia and injury-causing falls. If it’s been a year or more since you had your hearing tested, call Amplifon Hearing Health Care today to schedule a hearing test and consultation with a provider near you.
You can read the full article at http://www.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/aging_resource_center/ten_tips_healthy_aging.html.
Healthy Aging® Month is a registered trademark of Healthy Aging® Magazine.