dog sleeping on the couch

How to Grow Old Gracefully

The Golden State is now home to a growing senior population. Data showed that by 2030, nearly 10 million would be at least 65 years old! It’s like Colorado and Minnesota combined. By then, too, they would account for 20% of California’s residents.

Getting older in California can be fun and comfortable. Everything is within reach, healthcare is good, and the state is bustling with activity. However, aging also comes with a lot of challenges.

If you’re one of those about to hit 65, you can grow old gracefully by following these strategies:

1. Consider Getting a Pet

Do you know that many seniors are prone to depression? It affects about 6.5 million older adults in the United States.

Many factors can cause it, such as the death of a loved one, empty nest, isolation, and even immobility. Either way, experts say this mental problem is not a normal part of aging.

Fortunately, there are many ways to cope, and one is to live with a furry companion. According to Agingcare.com, pets can:

  • Lower stress levels
  • Bring down your heart rate
  • Increase physical activity
  • Give you a reason to socialize
  • Teach you to live in the present
  • Make you feel you’re not alone

Getting a pet is easy. The state has a lot of animal shelters and organizations that can help. A private dog-training group can also prepare your pet for household living. You can even train them to be therapy or assistance dogs.

2. Move

As you grow older, you can develop poor muscle mass. Joints can become achy or stiff, especially in the morning, back hurts worse, and bones can even become brittle. All these give you more reasons to move or increase your physical activity.

Consider your body parts as gears. Unless you oil them, they will slow down and eventually stop working. In this analogy, exercise is your oil.

man doing front squats

Being physically active need not involve high-intensity exercises. Older adults can benefit more from low-impact ones since they’re gentler on the joints. These include moderate-intensity walking, swimming, yoga, and Pilates.

You can also follow one of the Blue Zones principles: incorporate natural movement in your daily life. Till the soil, vacuum the home often, or walk from the parking lot to the grocery store.

3. Live According to Purpose

On the island of Okinawa, Japan, the average age of the residents is 83 years old. For a better perspective, the average lifespan today is 72.6, according to the United Nations.

Studies showed that they’re able to achieve this incredible feat by following a healthy diet (rarely meat, lots of vegetables, and some fish for fat). They’re also active with many 80-year-olds capable of walking long distances.

They also believe in ikigai or purpose, and the reason might be simple. In a study by the University of California-San Diego, scientists found a link between lower mortality risk and purpose. It could be because people who know their life’s meaning feel more contented while those who don’t might be more stressed out.

Stress is one of the major risk factors for many chronic diseases, such as heart disorders and diabetes, since it increases low-grade inflammation.

While aging is sure to happen, you can go through it with more ease than others. These ideas can help you achieve that.

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