How to age gracefully
9 tips to help you age happily and healthily
Ageing is a natural part of life. Getting older is a journey that the luckiest of us will embark on, bringing experiences, challenges and opportunities. While ageing is inevitable, how we age is within our control.
At Five Good Friends, we like to think of ageing gracefully as being happy and healthy, rather than being eternally youthful. We believe every wrinkle is a badge of honour, every grey hair is a testament to life experiences and every challenge overcome is a story worth telling.
The ageing journey can have its unique challenges, particularly for those with a disability, however our goal is to help our Members age with grace, dignity and joy.
Here are some ways to help do that.
1. Get active
In order to age gracefully, it’s important to look after our bodies. Pay special attention to what our bodies are telling us and look into tools that can help us be as mobile as possible.
You could try gentle walking, water aerobics or chair yoga. There are plenty of activities for seniors that can help you get your body moving. For those with mobility challenges, consider exercises that strengthen the upper body or improve balance.
2. Eat well and drink lots of water
Nutrition is hugely important as we age. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can work wonders for your body. Budget, health problems and eating issues can mean the range of food we eat as we age decreases. However, it’s important that we continue to get a wide range of nutrients in our body to help feed our gut microbiome and fight diseases.
Here are some quick and easy meal ideas so you can maximise the nutrients you get each day. If you’re cooking for one, consider making big batches and freezing meals or organising to swap meals with friends so you all can try other recipes. Better yet, eat together a few times a week.
Hydration is equally important, so make sure you're drinking enough water throughout the day. Keep a water bottle on hand so you always have something to drink, particularly when getting up for a glass of water is a challenge.
3. Stay connected
It’s important to stay connected as you get older. Engage with family, friends, a Five Good Friends Helper or join community groups. Sharing experiences, laughter and even challenges can provide emotional support and enhance mental well-being.
4. Exercise your mind
Ageing gracefully is as much about exercising your mind as it is your body. And there are plenty of ways you can cultivate a resilient mind as you age. Keep your mind active with reading, puzzles or learning a new skill.
If you physically find it difficult to read or use a pencil, talk to family or your Five Food Friends Helper about adaptions you can make. Can you listen to audiobooks or get a tablet that makes it easier for you to tap and type rather than write on paper?
It’s important to challenge your brain to keep it sharp.
5. Be mindful
You may have also heard about the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. These practices are incredibly helpful in managing stress, anxiety and promoting a sense of peace and mental well-being. Even a few minutes of deep breathing a day can make a significant difference. If you haven’t tried mindfulness before, there are plenty of apps and websites that can guide you, such as Smiling Mind.
6. Find your purpose
Many people struggle with having a purpose as they get older. You may no longer be working and perhaps your disability stops you from helping friends and family like you used to.
However, no matter how old you are, you can still have a purpose to each day. Think about:
- What you love
- What you’re good at
- What the world needs
- What you can be paid for
You can use these ideas to find your purpose. Read more on our blog about finding your purpose in retirement.
7. See the doctor and dentist regularly
We all know that prevention is better than a cure. Which is why it’s so important that you keep up to date with your medical checks, screenings and see the dentist regularly.
The health checks you need will vary for each person depending on your individual risks, medical background and family history. However, some common checks you might consider are:
- Eye testing
- Diabetes health
- Heart health
- Bone scans
- Cancer screenings including breast, cervical cancer, bowel cancer and prostate cancer
- Skin checks
It’s also important that you visit your dentist at least once a year. Poor oral health can affect us in many ways including our general health, social lives and quality of life.
8. See the glass half full
Our bodies and minds evolve with time. Ageing gracefully is about recognising and celebrating what you can do rather than lamenting what you can’t. Every day is a testament to your resilience and should be celebrated.
Look for stories of others who have aged gracefully, especially those with disabilities. Their journeys can offer valuable insights and motivation.
9. See asking for help as a sign of strength
If daily tasks become increasingly challenging or if you feel persistently low, it might be time to get some help. Whether it's hiring a caregiver, consulting a therapist or joining a support group, professional help can provide the guidance and support you need.
Don’t forget to lean on loved ones too. Your family and friends want what’s best for you and want to see you ageing gracefully. Reach out to them when you need a listening ear or a helping hand.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you age gracefully, get in touch with us. Our friendly team can talk to you about our processes and how we care for all our Members.
Learn more: How to find your purpose in retirement