If you’re holding onto a stereotypical image of the aging process that involves a sedentary, lonely lifestyle spent sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch every day, it’s time for you to reconsider that thought! The answer to healthy aging is understanding the top aging myths and the facts behind them in order to embrace a vibrant lifestyle irrespective of age.
Depression Is Inevitable
While loneliness and isolation can cause feelings of sadness, depression is not a normal part of growing older. Actually, research shows that older adults are less likely to experience depression than younger adults. Nevertheless, in the event that you suspect that an older loved one is struggling with depression, there are effective treatment plans available. Talk to the doctor for guidance.
It’s Too Late to Learn New Things
In reality, the opposite is true. Lifelong learning is crucial to keeping cognitive functioning as sharp as it can be. A recent study showed enhanced brain health in elderly individuals who learned a new skill or joined a course or book club. And, the social rewards that come with studying something new are an added bonus!
You’ll Have to Slow Down
Exercise is essential for everyone, regardless of age. While the risk of falling is undoubtedly a consideration for older adults, there are several ways to remain physically active that are appropriate regardless of any chronic health problems or concerns. Ask the physician for guidelines first, but in general, low impact exercises like tai chi, balance/strength exercises, and swimming are often an excellent starting point.
Time to Give Up the Keys
There is a common belief that as we age, we all will have to give up the car keys. Although there are health conditions that can make driving hazardous, such as decreased vision or Alzheimer’s disease, many older adults can continue to safely drive – often more safely, in fact, than younger drivers. Regular physical exams will guide the physician in figuring out when and if it is time for an older individual to cease driving.
Dad Had Dementia, Which Means You Will, Too
While genetics do play a role in a person’s chance of Alzheimer’s, there are a number of other factors that are in our control to reduce that risk. The lifestyle choices we make, such as staying active, eating right, keeping blood pressure levels under control, and refraining from smoking, are all great protective measures.
You Don’t Need to Quit Smoking
Perhaps you know an older adult who believes that since they have smoked their whole lives and have not had any major problems, there is no sense in stopping now. Yet research has confirmed that stopping smoking brings immediate health advantages – within a matter of hours, in fact. First, there is a decrease in carbon monoxide levels in the blood. Within a couple weeks, lung function increases and circulation improves. There is also a decrease in cold and flu symptoms, reduced risk for bronchitis and pneumonia, and a diminished risk for heart disease, lung disease, and cancer.
Let Morning Glory Home Care’s Highland senior care providers help an older person you know enjoy this season in life in the most healthy and happy way possible! Contact us at 618-667-8400 to learn about the countless ways we can provide support. For a full list of the communities where we provide care, visit our Service Area page.