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Geriatricians Reveal 7 Signs of Aging Well

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 4 months ago

In a recent interview, Dr. Parul Goyal, a geriatrician at Vanderbilt Health, discussed the three key components of aging well: physical health, emotional connection, and mental support. These factors work together to promote a fulfilling and healthy life as we grow older. To determine whether someone is aging well, geriatricians look for certain indicators and provide advice for those who may need to make improvements.

One important aspect of aging well is continuing to learn new things. As we age, opportunities for absorbing new information become limited, so it's crucial to actively seek out learning experiences. Dr. Goyal encourages her patients to engage in activities that stimulate the mind, such as learning a new game, exercise, language, or musical instrument. This helps form new pathways in the brain, promoting cognitive strength.

Being honest about one's needs is another indicator of aging well. Many individuals refrain from expressing their needs due to ageism or fear of being a burden. However, it's essential to communicate openly with family and friends when feeling lonely or struggling with depression and anxiety. These conditions can be treated at any age, and seeking support is crucial.

Building a strong community is also vital for aging well. Loneliness and isolation have been declared an epidemic, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bolstering social connections through activities like volunteering, joining community groups, or spending time with loved ones is essential for brain health and overall well-being.

Prioritizing physical health is another key factor in aging well. Eating a nutritious diet and staying physically active are important throughout life. Dr. Goyal recommends a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Additionally, engaging in exercises that promote muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness, such as weightlifting, yoga, or walking, is crucial.

Doing activities that bring enjoyment is a significant aspect of aging well. Engaging in hobbies, spending time with loved ones, and pursuing interests are essential for a fulfilling life, even in the face of chronic illnesses or injuries.

Regularly discussing medications with doctors is critical for aging well. Medication needs may change over time, and unnecessary medications should be de-prescribed. Open communication with healthcare professionals ensures that the right medications are taken and potential risks are minimized.

Lastly, planning for the future is crucial. Discussing preferences for hospitalization, memory loss, or the need for additional support with family and friends ensures that one's voice is heard and decisions are not made for them. Starting these conversations early and keeping them ongoing is essential.

It's important to note that aging well is not determined by age itself but by how individuals feel and prioritize their well-being. By focusing on relationships, physical and mental health, and future plans, individuals can age well regardless of their chronological age. It is never too early to start prioritizing healthy habits and making positive changes for a fulfilling life as we age.

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