Everyone, at some point in their life, will encounter age related health issues. We’re always learning more about the human body and what it needs to function in tip-top shape, and so healthcare and nutrition actually getting better as we age. What may have been an unavoidable health condition in your grandfather’s time is either being studied closely or easily treated nowadays.
Some look at old age and the related maladies with fear; many don’t recognize that there is no cause for concern if you’re aware of health tips and tricks throughout life that anyone can learn. While you might still be relatively young, there are approximately 50 million people in the USA who are 65 years of age and older. This is not only a timely topic with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s also information that you can take along on your life journey.
Oral Care Tips to Chew On
It’s important to take care of your teeth on a day-to-day basis, and this only gets more important as you age. Because our body starts to degrade as we get older, it’s important to take care of the things that support us now, such as our bones, teeth, and skin. It is well documented in scientific literature now that calcium, which makes up the majority of strength/structure of our bones, gets weaker as we age. This is also exacerbated by smoking, drug use, and physical labor stresses like intense weight training. While we tend not to think of our teeth like our arm or leg bones, they are comprised of the exact same material and are attached to our jaw in the same way everything else is. They can break, degrade, and fall victim to time like everything else.
The main reason to take care of your teeth and gums now is that if you do it later, the expenses can be cumbersome and outrageous. Simply browse the listings and rate quotes for restorative dentists and emergency dentists alike for proof. When oral care becomes a problem, it is both expensive and painful. These are two age related health issues that never end. Not only are these professionals not cheap and in short supply, but they definitely don’t accept coupons for putting in new dental bridges.
The best habits to quit if you want to maximize your oral health now are smoking/tobacco use and excessive sugar intake. When you use oral tobacco or smoke, you introduce hundreds of harmful chemicals and carcinogens into your mouth in a relatively short period of time. With smoking, this adds the additional aspect of heat/combustible materials which are not good for your sensitive gums. A quick internet search of the effects of smoking on the gums, teeth, and jaw will yield all the results you need to know. But even if you don’t smoke, using oral tobacco (dip, chew, snus, chaw, etc.) can still wreak havoc on your teeth and gums. They’re known to cause large patches of cancerous growth and stain your teeth.
While not as rapid in its detriment, sugar also has well-documented disastrous effects upon oral care. Sugary drinks and candy are to be avoided unless you’re able to brush your teeth afterward. If eating sugar is a constant habit, the consequential cavities will be as painful as the other age related health issues that you’re trying to avoid. If you’re craving sugar, reach for fruit instead. Your restorative dentist will note that the fiber content and vitamins will give you added benefit while you satiate your sweet tooth. While your former habits may seem delicious, they’re anything but in the long run.
When Memory Fails, Others Provide
What are we without our memory? Goldfish are said to have memory spans of one hour or less, which explains their seemingly nonsensical behavior. But humans can remember things for years at a time, down to the most intricate and seemingly mundane detail, such as the color of their mother’s teacups, the taste of summer camp brownies, or the sound of a rousing political speech.
But when someone gets a memory disease such as Alzheimer’s, all of that can go out the window. It is one of many age related health issues that is truly tragic, and they may need specialized Alzheimer care for simple things such as getting dressed and eating meals. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s and no definitive way to prevent it. The best you can hope for is to stay mentally vigorous and guard against its onset by eating healthy.
All sorts of real, legal problems can occur with a person who has Alzheimer’s disease that isn’t receiving the proper care. The patient may think that nothing is wrong with them and will still function under the guise of normality — or their version of normal. This can cause folks with Alzheimer’s to do “crazy” things such as list a used boat for sale that they haven’t owned in five years (but still have the pictures and an eBay account) or send gifts with outrageous shipping logistics to relatives who are no longer alive.
Some might even start a commercial home renovation on a property that they grew up in, but no longer have any ties to. Make sure that the person affected has a trusted legal representative so that they don’t get themselves in trouble unnecessarily with the law. If you want your loved one to age in place, you can still rely on those shipping logistics companies to invest in bath bars, ramps, and other disability equipment to help your home. Even if your loved one wanted to perform a commercial home renovation, simple changes to your own home can make their life a little easier.
Protect Your Joints, Move More, and Eat Well
Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you can’t shake it! In fact, mobility and joints can be protected going into old age so that you don’t have to deal with any age related health issues. Staying mobile can also prevent you from having to search for local accident injury attorneys after your arthritic knee couldn’t switch from the gas to the brake. You can be vigorous, youthful, and downright spunky well into your 90s if you start early or correct your course with the best information.
One of the most important things you can do for your joints and mobility is to simply move. This means being active and getting your heartbeat up more often than not. Try walking, lifting things (canned goods are a great start), stretching your limbs, and finding sunshine to bask in (remember to use sunscreen). By remaining sedentary, you are placing yourself at risk to get weaker and stiffer. After all, a body at rest tends to remain at rest. But once you get that blood pumping and feel the zest in your step, you’ll remember that the only thing separating you from the young whippersnappers on bicycles is that you remember when the latter was invented.
If your joints still bother you, or if you’re dealing with regular inflammation issues in addition to age related health issues, then you may want to consider adding supplements to your diet or changing it bit by bit. Green leafy vegetables are known around the world to be anti-inflammatory, as well as common foods like olive oil, turmeric, salmon, blueberries, and almonds. You can also supplement your diet with these foods in capsule/pill form (such as turmeric) if you don’t like eating them but still want the health benefits. Find what foods you like best that are known to be healthy (and available where you live) so that you can experiment with what you need.
Keeping Your Personality Hip, Current and Lively
While we’ve talked mostly about physical health in this article, it’s also important to remember that mental health precedes the body in many ways. As the old adage says: “what we think, we become” and it seems to be ever true in this fast-changing world. Luckily it doesn’t matter who you are nowadays when it comes to the internet and online culture, because everyone has access to information and a seat at the table somewhere. Despite what you may think, there are always younger people who want to learn from those that are older and more experienced than them. This can be about any topic under the sun. And with the advent of social media, you don’t even have to go outside to meet them anymore. Instead, you can make an account on Reddit, Facebook, or Twitter to offer your sage advice to anyone who needs it. Whether they are interested in relationship advice, how to buy a home, your favorite dinosaur, or age related health issues, you probably have a wealth of advice that can be communicated to people in an interesting way.
Culture changes fast, but a good way to keep pulse with what’s current is by observing the entertainment that most people are watching. Even if you’re immobile or arthritic and can no longer go out to movies or events, you can still watch Netflix, Hulu, or various internet videos to keep a current on new events. Social media gets a bad rap, but it’s all about how you use it. Don’t abuse it!
The Inevitable End
Eventually, life will end whether you are the healthiest person around or have made a pledge to Zeus that you’re going to be immortal. When it’s time to think about the end, that means all sorts of end-of-life decisions. This includes whether to use hospice care facilities, mobility aids, vitamins, special diets, adaptive clothing, and much more. There may be running from problems, debt, and your ex at the grocery store, but there is truly no running from age related health issues. The passage of time ensures they eventually catch up with you, so you might as well face them down.
When thinking about the eventuality of death and its consequences, decide early on with loved ones, friends, and family on whether you’d like to die at home with hospice care or be taken care of in a nursing home. Many people put their parents and grandparents in nursing homes not because they don’t care about them, but because they can’t care for them: the time and effort that goes into ensuring an older person still has a quality of life is a full-time job in itself and requires capital. This may be something that you want to save for in a separate account. It may even become your main goal, allowing you the maximum amount of freedom and choice long after you have trouble making decisions for yourself.
Thinking about our deaths can also ensure our wishes are carried out in life. Some people will take this time to write a will or alert their loved ones about funeral plans — if they even want one. Most people are getting cremated but the choice is yours, and yours alone. Talk to a family member or mental health professional to make this conversation a little easier.
Don’t Worry, Be Healthy
If any of this information has put you off or made you anxious about growing old, it shouldn’t. Because at the end of the day, you’re in total control of your conscious health and how you act toward becoming the best version of yourself. From what you eat to how you deal with mental stress, the locus of control falls far more to you than the outside world. Mobility aids can help and there are countless ways to age with grace. There will always be things that are out of your grasp, accidents that happen, and illnesses that seemingly spring up out of nowhere. But your reaction to these events and the ability to be proactive in recognizing age related health issues is the true power that you always hold.
Use your retirement to look for used boats for sale or invest in a pool to get more exercise. It is, in so many words, the key to your overall health and well being. So if you’d like a little phrase to keep with you on your journey, never hesitate to shout “Don’t worry, be healthy!”