If you want to stay well, follow the advice and links on this page.
Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity..... WHO 1946
Aging Well is not Just about Looking Young
This section of age-well.org is all about how to make life-style changes which will help you achieve optimum healthy and prevent age-related diseases which is the basis or foundations of aging well.
Sagging skin, a big belly and wrinkles are the aesthetic signs of aging and should not prevent us from enjoying life to the full. What is more important is to stay well. This should be our primary goal and all other anti-aging measures, including those that aim to keep us looking younger, should have this as a solid base on which to build.
Prevent Age-Related Disease
If you want to stay well as you age, you should read the advice in the articles in our A – Z of age-related diseases. These articles explain about age-related illnesses, their symptoms, how to prevent them or manage them once they are present. They fall into three categories: chronic disease, embarrassing conditions and conditions which affect our mental capacities.:-
1. Chronic Illness Associated with Aging As we age, the risk of developing chronic diseases increases, so we need to learn about how to prevent, recognize and manage age related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. As we age, we are also more likely to have high blood pressure and suffer from heart attacks and strokes, which can be fatal or lead to brain damage. For this reason, eliminating the cause of high blood pressure and treating it once it is present are one of the keys to living to a healthy old age.
2. Find a Solution for Embarrassing Conditions
There is another category of health problems, which we can classify as embarrassing conditions, which I’d like to cover in this section, because they are often difficult to discuss and therefore often swept under the carpet.
Sometimes these health issues become a source of such embarrassment that people cannot even bring themselves to consult a doctor and thereby miss the opportunity of finding what could have been a fairly simple solution to their problem. The trend of poking fun at the elderly through negative stereotyping of aging and making them the but of ageist jokes, does not help. It is worth bearing in mind that such humor exploits what most people fear about aging, i.e. losing control of their minds and bodies. It is important to bring these conditions into the open, to remove any taboos and to discuss how we can cure them or at least alleviate the symptoms.
3. Conditions which affect the Memory and Brain
Some conditions affect the memory and brain and these can be very hard to deal with for both suffers and carers alike. Some of these conditions have been included in the A - Z of Age-related Conditions. In our section Stay-Alert you can learn strategies to stimulate your memory and keep both brain and mind functioning well.
Start with the Essentials
But let us start by building the foundations for our good looks and healthy life. This starts by making a few lifestyle changes if we have not been living in a way which will help us reach optimum health, stay well, age well and stay younger longer
Eat Well Healthy aging is defined as living a longer, healthier life. And many studies have documented the link between a healthy diet and the prevention of age-related and chronic diseases.
So if you are trying to look your best without going under the knife, a secret ingredient might be right under your nose. One answer to aging gracefully can be found in the grocery store, in fruits, vegetables, green tea, and a host of other healthy foods that are rich in antioxidants and other potentially age-deterring compounds.
"Dietary choices are critical to delay the onset of aging and age-related diseases, and the sooner you start, the greater the benefit," says Susan Moores, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association
Exercise is another of the keys to healthy aging and longevity. Studies have continually shown that people who exercise live long and also have the lowest risk for developing hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. Exercise also reduces the severity of both diabetes and heart disease, when already present. Normal aging results in a gradual loss of muscle mass, known as Sarcopenia.
Having stronger muscles and better balance may mean fewer falls, a leading cause of death among the elderly, according to the American Geriatrics Society. Exercise also improved cardiovascular health preventing arteriosclerosis, strokes, heart attacks, and vascular dementia. Exercise can also help keep blood sugar low and prevent diabetes. Resistance exercise can also lead to stronger bones and prevent osteoporosis.
Watch Your Weight If you are obese or overweight, especially if you are accumulating extra weight around the middle, one of the best things you can do to prevent age-related disease and stay well as you age is to lose weight. It becomes harder to keep off the extra kilos as one ages, but the health benefits will really be worth the effort.
Adopt Healthy Habits Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity, adequate rest, avoiding tobacco and too much alcohol, with a diet rich in healthy foods and beverages can be the best defense against aging.
Keep Our Mind and Brain Working Well
Growing old does not necessarily mean that your mental abilities will decrease and you will gradually become senile. It is possible to keep your mind sharp and your brain alert and working at top form until the end of your days and there is a lot you can do to keep them that way.
Researchers believe that many of the supposed age-related changes that affect the mind, such as memory loss, are actually related to lifestyle. Just as we lose muscle mass if we do not exercise regularly, our brains can shrink from lack of use.
Both age-related diseases and the medication necessary to treat them could affect our mental capacities. Older people can have an increased risk for developing chronic disease and these diseases and the medication necessary to treat them can have an effect on the brain and mean that we are not as sharp as we used to be.
Certain diseases like dementia can also be the underlying cause of declining abilities. If you begin to notice memory loss or other brain related problems consult a medical professional to see if this could be caused by your prescription drugs or an undiagnosed health condition.
Lifelong learning and social activities can exercise the brain and help it stay younger. Learn how you can Stay Alert as You Age.
Of course the aesthetic signs of aging may be distressing to some and there is no reason why we shouldn’t try and preserve our looks for as long as we can. Good food and regular exercise will help us stay young looking for longer. Expensive treatments and surgery can be an option for those who can afford it.
Aesthetic treatments and cosmetic surgery will eventually be covered in this website but, in the meantime, there is whole a section devoted to looking well which is worth visiting. Stay well as you age and enjoy this part of your life to the fullest.
Aging can be accompanied by a host of age-related diseases, but you can minimize your risks of developing them considerably by making some lifestyle changes.
The one thing to remember is that you are not alone. Aging happens to everyone and very few of us are lucky enough to live to a ripe old age without experiencing any problems associated with aging.
But remember, we are the lucky ones. Many people die before they get old enough to experience any of these problems and in other parts of the world we would be aging at a far earlier age and in our graves long before reaching 60.
We are lucky if we live in a country where anti-aging research has made cutting edge treatments available to us.
Most people experience some problems as they age, but if you take care of your body and your mind, watch what you eat and exercise regularly and avoid habits which may harm your health, there is no reason why you can’t stay well, live a full and satisfying life well into old age.
Mary Treacy is the founder and contributing editor of age-well.org. She has over thirty years of experience working with non-profit, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), mainly business associations, and is an experienced writer in many sectors including co-operatives, agriculture, commmerce, housing, insurance, banking and health. You can find her on Google + and Twitter.