Knowledge is power.
Thomas Hobbes is thought to be the first man to write those words, but close to 400 years later, their impact still penetrates our world, particularly when it comes to our own health.
As we get older, our health can become more fragile, aches and pains more frequent, and the risk of many diseases rises significantly. While a certain amount of fear in getting older is inherent, staying in touch with our bodies, being truthful in dealing with doctors and other health practitioners, and making healthy habits a priority, can extend our lifespans considerably as well as eliminate unnecessary risks that otherwise could affect our ability to enjoy our retirement years.
Some of these best practices might seem obvious, but often we have “blind spots” in our self cares, that is, areas where we fail to see we have a problem or believe that do not apply to us.
For starters, a complete physical once a year is a must. If you don’t have a primary care physician, do some research and find one who you are comfortable with asking questions and discussing any and all problems. Make sure the physician is aware of any past problems and family history of diseases, as these are often indicators of potential future issues. When you get test results and blood work done, make sure to schedule time either on the phone or in-person to thoroughly discuss the results with the doctor, and build a plan together of what you can do to improve areas that need help.
Our bodies do break down from time to time. We will suffer illnesses both mild and serious, muscle pains, strains, aches and discomforts. With these, we must practice diligence and vigilance to prevent them from becoming something more serious. As parents and as employees in previous incarnations of our lives, there were likely times when all of us took our health for granted; “powered through” a nasty cold or a sore back in order to keep commitments to kids or customers. While that work ethic is admirable and understandable, it must take a back seat when we get into our retirement years. This means letting our healthcare provider know when something doesn’t feel right, when a normal movement becomes painful, or when we become short of breath, feel our heart beating faster than it should, etc.
Getting older doesn’t mean staying inside on the couch all day, far from it! Keeping exercise a part of your daily or semi-daily routine is not only a great way to stay fit, but it is scientifically proven to keep you happier, reduce stress levels, and improve the functioning of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. Now, that doesn’t mean you should drop everything and start training for a marathon today! But even small doses of exercise allow us to reap considerable health benefits. This is something we stress in our Senior Wellness Programs at our senior living community. We offer residents guidance from health and exercise professionals who have years of experience with senior fitness so you can develop a customized exercise plan that fits your needs to a tee.
Of course, the overall state of our health is not simply defined by how many miles we walk a week or how much weight we can lift. Taking care of yourself includes mental sharpness, emotional stability, being smart about what food and beverages we put in our bodies, and maintaining a positive attitude towards all aspects of our lives, which can sometimes be a struggle as we go through changes later in life. Staying positive and healthy can come in the form of something as simple as letting more sunlight into your home to getting weekly massages or spa treatments. At our community, we call this the Age of Enlivement – an easy-going, education guidance system that seeks to balance six areas of wellness: intellectual, emotional, spiritual, social, physical, and purposeful.
Nutrition is a huge part of our overall health throughout our lives, and even more important as we age and need extra help to get the proper amount of our daily intake of vitamins and minerals. Taking supplemental vitamins that are specially designed for seniors is a great idea, as is learning more information about USDA recommendations for the daily servings of protein, carbs, fats, etc. that our bodies require for optimal performance as we age. Finding time to prepare and cook our own healthy meals three times a day can begin to seem like a chore in retirement, when the kids have left home, but it’s something we take great pride in offering residents as our signature Sensations Dining. Foods prepared in a microwave or frozen and shipped have no place in our kitchens, instead you’ll be served dinners, lunches, and brunches made from scratch by professional chefs who truly understand the nutritional needs of our residents.
If you are seeking to enhance or maintain your health and well-being as you make the transition to a senior living community, turn to the community at Blue Ridge By Discovery Senior Living. Learn about our available senior living programs, amenities, and floorplans today. Contact us now at 706.309.5621.