No one enjoys the process of growing older. However, there are many who have the ability to age gracefully and accept the changes that their body and mind are taking on this journey. It can be overwhelming as we think about how aging affects our lives. If we try to keep our attention on only a few aspects as we focus on anti-aging so we can stay hopeful and positive as we walk through this process.
Aging gracefully does not mean you have to accept the problems that arise with each year. Instead, it allows you to take a proactive approach to protect your health, reverse or manage issues that pop up, and gain a better understanding of what to expect as you get older.
There are five major areas of concern for both men and women as they age, including how they look, their memory, their ability to get around, their overall quality of life and some confidential issues that can cause people to feel shame and embarrassment as they move into their senior years.
You may already be noticing these changes. Or, you might be making preparations to ensure they don’t happen to you (at least for a long time). Either way, being aware will empower you to take steps to live a quality life in your golden years.
Focus on the Vanity Issues That Make You Feel Uncomfortable
When it comes to aging, it’s usually the issue of appearances that comes to the forefront of our minds. No one wants to look in the mirror and see grey hair or wrinkles beginning to creep across their face.
If this is a concern of yours, or even just to take care of your outer appearance, you can start by making sure that your skin is well hydrated. There are different types of moisturizers.
Some will be appropriate for the area around your eyes to prevent or reduce crow’s feet. There are both creams and serums used for that purpose. You can also use thicker creams on other areas of your face, including your forehead, which often needs hydration to reduce signs of worry.
You will find products on store shelves that can be used to naturally plump the skin, and protect it from sun damage, which is one thing that often makes people look older than they are.
You’ll want to be on the lookout for age spots. These often appear on the face and hands. There are some natural treatments that will help lighten the appearance of these dark circles.
There are some cosmetic procedures you can have done to reduce the appearance of aging, which range from getting Botox injections to surgical procedures that firm up the face and neck.
People focus on what they see in the mirror, but another area that they often notice is their hands. Whether they are driving, cooking, knitting, or typing, they will see how their hands look and notice the sagging skin and wrinkles that begin to show up.
You want to treat the process of wrinkling from the inside out. Start with making sure that your body is well hydrated so that the skin is not looking dried up, but instead looks plump.
Make sure you are always wearing a high SPF sunscreen that protects your face, neck, ears, hands, and anywhere else that is exposed. You should wear this anytime you leave your house, even if you are not going to the beach, but instead are simply driving in the car.
If your hands are showing signs of the aging process already, you can use stronger moisturizers that are supposed to be applied in the morning or at night for a restorative process. Keeping your focus on anti-aging will help you be consistent with a few of these routines.
Another area that often makes people feel older when they look in the mirror is the thinning or other changes with their hair. It often takes a more coarse feeling as you age.
There are some preventative measures you can take early on to protect the health of your hair, such as reducing the number of chemicals that you use on it. But even doing something such as choosing an age appropriate hairstyle it can help you look years younger.
As you get older, you may begin to have issues with your dental health. You may end up missing a tooth, which makes you feel older than you really are. There are many different solutions for this, including partial or full dentures, implants, and bridges – but you can begin taking good care of your oral health and preventing loss and problems with regular visits to the dentist.
Make Sure Your Mobility Never Suffers
Mobility is one thing that many people tend to take for granted. When they are young, they can run and play and go as fast as they want, when they want. But as you age, you may begin to notice some changes in your ability to get around and do things.
You may be suffering from osteoarthritis that affects the health of your knees, for example. This makes it very painful for you to take each step, so you have to do so slowly and carefully.
Getting older, you have to be more careful about making sure that you don’t take a steep fall and break a hip or hurt yourself in other ways. Many people suffer from osteoporosis as they grow older, so you should make sure that you fortify your bone health early on with plenty of calcium.
Brittle bones and knee pain are not the only things that inhibit mobility over time. Sometimes, as we age we lose muscle and gain weight. You may get off balance, so you want to make sure that you take up a regimen of strength training that supports your body and gives you an improved core for better balance.
You can find a local gym to attend with a personal trainer who can help you. Many of them specialize in assisting senior citizens with their fitness goals, both restorative and preventative. Many classes help you focus on anti-aging by providing special instruction in how to move and mindful movement like Pilates and Qigong.
For cardio, there are many things you can do that will not be as jarring as something like running on a treadmill. For example, you can visit your local fitness establishment and use swimming as your exercise of choice.
Even walking in the pool can take the stress off of your joints, and help strengthen your legs and build your stamina. You can also use a stationary bike in your home or at a local gym.
Even simply walking around the block would be good exercise to keep your mobility in check. If you want to play a sport, then you might consider one such as golf, which is good for all ages.
Sharpen Your Mind to Keep It Strong and Healthy
Another thing many people worry about when it comes to the aging process is whether or not they will lose their memory. It’s a sad fact that many people suffer from different forms of dementia, which either steal their memory entirely or sabotage it partially, such as eliminating their short or long term memory.
One thing that can be very scary for people as they age is trying to differentiate between normal forgetfulness and something more serious, such as Alzheimer’s disease. You can talk to your doctor if you feel that a problem is worsening.
Some things can help you avoid a deterioration in your mental status from early on. For example, keeping your body in a state of movement and exercise helps your brain get the blood flow that it needs to fuel your mind properly.
You also want to cut down on any bad habits, such as overeating, drinking alcohol, smoking, etc. Make sure that you are constantly challenging your brain and not merely letting it sit stagnant. Keeping your focus can be frustrating, but if you practice you will grow in this practice.
There are puzzles, number and word games, and other ways to go about sharpening your mind. You want to read books and continually educate yourself as opposed to simply absorbing whatever is on TV at night.
When it comes to your mind health, it’s not just about memory loss, but about the stress seniors succumb to as they age. This can result in both men and women experiencing hormonal changes that cause them to fall into a depression.
Isolation is a big problem for senior citizens, so make sure that you are staying social, whether it means getting together with friends and family or volunteering in your community so that you can have interaction with others.
There are many senior friendly stress relief methods that you can do in your home, from deep breathing and guided meditation to spa treatments that will keep stress at bay and allow you to avoid spikes in your blood pressure.
Understand the Pain, Disease and Quality of Life Aging Concerns
We’ve already talked about knee pain, but as you age, there are many different types of pain that can bring your quality of life to a halt. For example, you may develop certain problems in your feet or other areas, such as the joints in your fingers.
You may have digestive pain or other issues that make you just want to sit still and not have to experience something that will make you suffer. Keep in mind that new treatments are always being developed.
You may have grown up not believing there was any treatment for certain problems, but in today’s world, science moves fast, and there could be a quick and easy solution waiting for you.
There are many natural and prescription methods that can help you alleviate pain. These range from topical creams or ointments to injections or surgical interventions, depending on the severity of your problem.
Besides pain, you are more likely to experience certain diseases as you age. This includes severe diagnoses such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s, and so on.
You want to know your family history ahead of time so that you can communicate with your doctor and also take necessary precautions for testing and lifestyle changes that will help you avoid any of these problems.
Another thing you may have to deal with are quality of life issues that are not life threatening, but can inhibit you in other ways. These include the process of losing your hearing or your vision.
Even if they are not completely gone, having to suffer from cataracts or glaucoma, or not being able to hear the conversations going on in the room can be a frustrating experience.
You always want to take care of your eyes and ears on a yearly basis, so that your doctor can spot any changes and address them early on. They may have suggestions about surgeries, products, or lifestyle changes that can help reverse or stop a situation from worsening.
Don’t Shy Away from Embarrassing Issues That May Need Your Attention
The aging process can bring with it many issues that are somewhat embarrassing for individuals. For example, men may experience impotence and women may suffer from vaginal dryness.
Don’t be afraid to discuss these with your doctor and have them give you advice on how to address these so that you don’t have to continually suffer when there are solutions that can help.
Incontinence is another aging issue that can make people embarrassed. It happens to both men and women, and can be periodic and mild or severe and constant. There are some lifestyle changes that can help with this issue.
For example, you may be able to alleviate the problem simply by losing weight. You may be surprised to learn that smoking can cause incontinence. Sometimes, there are exercises you can do, such as Kegels, which will help strengthen the pelvic floor.
Another thing men and women don’t like to discuss with others and get help with his constipation. As we age, this becomes more of a problem. It can also be very serious, so you have to be willing to address it.
You may be able to get a quick fix simply by making dietary changes. There are certain foods that will help with this situation. You can also make sure your body is well hydrated to prevent this issue.
Aging is something we often try to hide or cover up as it’s happening to us. But it’s better than the alternative. You can go into your golden years with confidence and peace of mind that you are treating your body in the best way possible to support it as it goes through these changes.
Don’t be afraid to investigate new products on the market, procedures that may make life easier or better for you, and strategies and lifestyle changes that have come to light in recent years, which can benefit you in many ways.
About the Author
Kathy Denise Hicks is a Personal Trainer/Corrective Exercise Specialist, Author, Entrepreneur. She currently inspires clients to incorporate habits which alleviate joint and muscular pain, increase energy, and attain their ideal weight. Kathy’s mantra “No Pain, More Gain” is truly exemplified through her coaching technique and expertise. She has recently created a Ten Day Free Workout Challenge, where you will be immersed into her comprehensive program for 10 days, experiencing fitness and eating routines to help you create life long habits.