I wrote in my last post about aging. It is inevitable. It cannot be avoided. So prepare now so your quality of life when you are older is the best it can be. You have to take care of yourself so you can see your grandchildren have children. Here are some other ways to age gracefully and prepare for when you are older:
- Private health insurance might not be enough. When you are old enough, you can start receiving Medicare insurance. Medicare is available for seniors age 65 and older. There are two types of Medicare insurance: Part A covers inpatient hospital costs; Part B is like typical health insurance. It is more outpatient, covering doctor’s office tests and costs. There are some restrictions. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging to receive help navigating the enrollment process. If you cannot afford Medicare, Medicaid offers health insurance for those with a low income. Medicaid and Medicare are federally funded programs and they should not necessarily be counted on. As Baby Boomers enter the senior population, the funds for Medicaid and Medicare might run dry. Start saving now. Don’t expect for the funds to be there.
- Keep your mind active. One of the quickest ways to show you have aged is by having a “senior moment.” Here’s a quick test: for one minute write down every animal you can think of. If you get more than 13, your mind is in good shape. If you get less than 13, you might have experienced some memory loss. After you retire it is easy to “veg out”. Avoid this at all costs. Working on hobbies, taking a class to learn something new, being with family, reading: these are all things that can keep your mind active and prolonging life-shortening mental diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. My grandma’s favorite? Crosswords.
- Eat well. You are what you eat. An apple a day keeps the doctor a way. These cliches are repeated by your mom for a reason. They are true. What you eat does affect how you age. Fruits and vegetables fight off free radicals which are often the cause of many diseases that affect you when you age. Vitamins in fruits and vegetables can help your eyesight, your joints and more.
- Relax. Yes, relaxing can help you as you age. Severe stress can cause more than just lack of sleep and hair loss, it can cause ulcers and heart disease. Stress can also lead to long-term emotional diseases. Depression and anxiety are common from extreme stress. A well-known author Richard Carlson’s book titled “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: And it is all small stuff” focuses on how to focus on what is important and to not let the other stuff impact you physically and emotionally.
- Think young. Magazine covers are blaring the headline “50 is the new 40.” And they are right. Each generation is not letting aging become a death sentence. They are living life to the fullest, and so should you.