Years ago, the concept of aging gracefully was about how you look, not how you live. Times have changed, and now “aging gracefully” is all about taking care of both physical and mental health to live our best lives.
So many things in our lives can interfere with our efforts to age gracefully. That’s why we’ve put together these tips: to help you be the best you and live your best life.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Getting between 7-9 hours of sleep each night is important for your health. Although it may sound like common advice, it’s common advice for a reason: Sleep deficiency can lead to serious health issues, including high blood pressure and stroke.
Lack of sleep takes different forms. Some people wake many times during the night; some people take hours to fall asleep at all. Ultimately, people who don’t sleep well also don’t wake up well. That kind of tiredness can erode one’s mental sharpness or dull their sparkle.
Does this sound too familiar? You’re not alone, especially if you have a condition that causes pain. Even “minor” or “moderate” pain can be enough to cause a fretful sleep. But there are a few things you can do to help get a good night’s sleep.
Follow a regular sleep schedule.
Getting up and heading to bed at the same time every night isn’t boring—it’s good for you. Your body gets into a sleep pattern, and your sleep gets better.
Avoid daily napping.
Ah, a nice leisurely afternoon nap is the best! But not for long. By the time you lie down to sleep, that nap is telling your brain you’ve already had enough sleep. You can do it—power through the day and save your slumber for nighttime.
Develop a bedtime routine.
You may already have a bedtime and routine and just don’t know it. It could be as simple as brushing your teeth, saying a prayer, and lying down. It could involve reading a chapter of your favorite book before you fall asleep. A bedtime routine is another way to remind your body that it’s time for rest!
Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature.
This is important. You can’t really sleep well if you’re too hot or too cold. The temperature of your bedroom is crucial. There’s no magic universal number, just make sure you’re sleeping in temperatures that don’t make you wake because you’re uncomfortable.
Clearly, sleep is important. So is hydration.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
To say drinking water is important is like saying that breathing air is important. Water has so many benefits for literally everyone, including seniors. When the water comes in the form of sugary sodas or coffee, it’s not quite as beneficial.
Drinking eight, eight-ounce glasses of good old-fashioned water every day does so much for the body, including:
- Nourishing your skin
- Aiding in smooth digestion
- Regulating temperature
- Cushioning and lubricating joints
If a refreshing glass of H2O isn’t exciting enough for your palette, increase your water consumption by going the sparkling route or by getting creative and adding a wedge of lime or lemon. Just make sure that hydration is part of your diet, along with plenty of nutritious food.
3. Eat Nutritious Foods
Is there truth to the saying, “You are what you eat”? It’s unlikely anyone will morph into a carrot or a cheeseburger, but what we eat is important to who we are because it impacts our health. Just like drinking plenty of water, continuing to eat nutritious foods will support healthy aging.
Don’t worry, though; this doesn’t mean you have to eat rabbit food. “Nutritious” food can take all forms these days. Thoughtfully crafted, delicious food can absolutely be good for you. There’s nothing wrong with an occasional treat, but eating nutrient-dense food at every stage of your life is crucial to aging gracefully.
Keeping up a diet rich in taste and nutrition is easy if you’re in the right senior living community. Instead of shopping and cooking, you get the luxury of letting someone else plan the meals. You can simply enjoy how delicious nutritious food can be.
If you’re enjoying a meal outside, don’t forget the sunscreen!
4. Always Use Sunscreen
The sun has beneficial Vitamin D, but it also has harmful ultraviolet rays that can potentially cause cancer. You might like the way it looks, but there’s no such thing as a safe tan. We now know much more about the dangers of UV rays than we did even twenty or thirty years ago, and now we have ways to protect ourselves, such as always wearing sunscreen. Plus, sun damage on your skin can look unattractive and really make you regret a fun day at the beach.
Don’t forget your eyes! You need to protect the windows to your soul. In addition to sunscreen, bring your sunglasses when you leave the house. Not only do you look cool in your shades, but you’re also looking out for your eye health.
No matter whether it’s a sunny or cloudy day, it’s a good idea to stay positive.
5. Stay Positive
You can’t always eliminate the negative parts of life, but how you handle the negative makes all the difference when it comes to aging gracefully. For seniors, keeping a positive mindset can go a long way toward forming positive health behaviors.
For example, seniors who are more satisfied with their aging process are at a lower risk for diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Translation: Embracing whatever chapter of life you’re in is good for your health. If you’re finding this easier said than done, look toward change:
Find a project that aligns with your lifestyle and values, and let it enrich your life.
The right project for you could be anything, from organizing an event at a local non-profit group to volunteering at a local religious organization to helping with a community garden.
Learn how to do new things.
Have you always wanted to scrapbook? Ever thought of trying yoga? Does pottery look like fun? What are you waiting for? Do it! Nothing helps you age gracefully more than learning new skills.
Get more social—and we don’t mean social media.
If you’ve realized that retirement has led to being less social, do something about it. Volunteer at a new charity or get more involved at church, join a book club, or spend more time at the dog park—just keep making connections. Lots of people are aging gracefully like you. If you put yourself out there, you’ll find them.
Practice gratitude and mindfulness.
Practicing gratitude and mindfulness is important, especially when you don’t feel terribly grateful or mindful. We all have bad days, and sometimes it seems like the bad days stack up like blocks. If you take a moment, count your blessings, and appreciate your surroundings, your negative thoughts will dim.
Practices like meditation and yoga can really help, when it comes to practicing gratitude and mindfulness. The important thing is to recognize your feelings, then look around you and count the good things.
Bottom line? People need people—and it’s good for people to be active.
6. Get (and Stay) Active
Staying active has so many benefits that we could write a whole other article about them. The point of being active isn’t to look like a supermodel or fit into last year’s pants. Getting and staying active is crucial to aging gracefully. It’s a lot more than just looking good—it’s about feeling good from the inside out.
What you do to stay active isn’t important; just keep moving. If you used to run for miles, maybe it’s time to see how many miles you can walk. Did you play baseball as a teen? Consider coaching t-ball at a local youth organization. Still dream of being a tennis pro? Buy a new badminton racket and get out there. As with most things, the fun is in trying.
Staying active can help you stay at a healthy weight, combat health conditions, give you boosts of energy, and even help you sleep better. Pro tip: Playing with grandchildren counts as exercise, and there’s no such thing as overdoing time with the family!
Speaking of grandchildren, they don’t just help you stay active. They can also help you stay connected.
7. Socialize with Family and Friends
The importance of connecting with friends and loved ones can’t be overstated. Whether you’re meeting up for coffee or a stroll around the block, a support network of friends and family members can help you feel less lonely and enrich your life so you age gracefully. Many seniors are surprised to find that they stay better connected with loved ones after they move into a senior living community because the right senior living community fosters those relationships.
Think about it: You’re in a gorgeous apartment, and you don’t have to maintain it or do any household chores. You don’t even have to cook—only if you want to! You have time and energy to meet up with old friends, attend family events, and be present in everyone’s lives.
Additionally, communities like Cedarhurst offer:
- Ample shared spaces that are ideal for chatting with family and friends
- Social dining experiences where loved ones are always welcome
- Friendly and supportive staff who really start to feel like family
At Cedarhurst, you’re family. We make sure that our residents don’t just stay connected to their friends and loved ones, but that they also make new connections to help them age gracefully.
Bonus Tip for Aging Gracefully: Find the Right Senior Living Community
We’ve covered seven tips on how to age gracefully, but the most important one is our bonus tip: Find the senior living community that fosters everything on this list. A senior living community can truly help you build the life you choose while keeping you social and active.
Cedarhurst residents choose their own path, living life their way. Our communities have a bevy of activities including exercise, cultural events, ways to get into nature, and more. With Cedarhurst’s Living TRUE℠ philosophy, seniors curate a life that suits them.
Find new ways to age gracefully, and discover what Cedarhurst senior living community can do for you. Find a community near you and request information today.