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Geriatricians Identify 7 Signs of Successful Aging

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 8 months ago

Aging well is a multifaceted endeavor, encompassing physical health, emotional connection, and mental support, according to Dr. Parul Goyal, a geriatrician at Vanderbilt Health in Nashville. These three components work together to promote a fulfilling and healthy life for older individuals. Geriatricians have identified several indicators of successful aging, along with advice for those who may feel they are falling short.

One key indicator of aging well is a commitment to lifelong learning. As opportunities for absorbing new information decrease with age, it becomes important to actively seek out learning experiences. Engaging in activities that stimulate the mind, such as learning a new skill or language, can help maintain cognitive health and strengthen the brain.

Another sign of successful aging is being honest about one's needs. It is essential to communicate with loved ones and express any feelings of loneliness or challenges one may be facing. This openness allows for the necessary support and assistance to be provided. It is also crucial to address any depression or anxiety with a healthcare professional, as these conditions are not a normal part of aging and can be effectively treated.

Building a strong community is vital for combating loneliness and isolation, which have been declared an epidemic in the United States. Social connections can be fostered through volunteering, participating in group activities, or spending time with friends and family. Socializing not only enhances mental well-being but also contributes to brain health by providing stimulation.

Prioritizing physical health is another important aspect of successful aging. A nutritious diet, incorporating elements of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, is recommended by Dr. Goyal. Regular exercise, including strength training and cardio, helps maintain muscle mass and reduces the risk of falls. It is crucial to consult with healthcare professionals to create an exercise routine that suits individual needs and abilities.

Engaging in activities that bring enjoyment is a positive sign of aging well. Pursuing hobbies, spending time with loved ones, and participating in activities that bring joy and fulfillment can combat boredom and enhance overall well-being.

Regularly reviewing and discussing medications with a healthcare provider is crucial. Medication needs may change over time, and unnecessary medications should be addressed to avoid potential harm.

Planning for the future is also emphasized as a way to age well. Conversations with family and friends about preferences for care and support in the event of hospitalization or memory loss help ensure that desires are heard and respected.

Ultimately, successful aging is not solely determined by chronological age but by how one feels and the choices made to prioritize overall well-being. It is never too early to start focusing on healthy habits that can be carried into older age. By prioritizing relationships, physical and mental health, and future plans, individuals can age well and feel good, regardless of their birth year.

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