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Growing Older with Grace

The Senior Adviser provides tips on how to age gracefully.

The Senior Adviser

No matter how much some of us would like to fight it, aging is inevitable. One day we wake up to realize that our youth has departed and a more mature figure has taken its place. Certain individuals don't mind the changes and even welcome the newest wrinkle, while others seem determined to stay young looking at almost any cost.   

But what does it mean to grow old gracefully? Naturally, each person will have his or her own interpretation of the phrase. Nevertheless, there seems to be a common thread sewn into the people who welcome their place no matter where they are in life: sometimes it’s a self-assured look, sometimes a confident smile.  And while no one should feel guilty about wishing to appear young, there are some habits many seniors practice that contribute to feeling physically and emotionally satisfied. Let’s look at a few:

  • Staying upbeat: Thinking and living in a positive space can have an amazing influence over how we look and feel. When we are unhappy or anxious, our faces act like tattletales. Of course it is impossible to stay cheery 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Still, we can make adjustments to our manner, some subtle, some maybe a little more challenging, that can improve our outlook 
  • Tossing the cigarettes: If you smoke, search for a therapy to help you quit (the proper treatment will vary from person to person). Most of us realize the steps we need to take to break an unhealthy habit, but it’s acting on the plan that sometimes seems daunting: act anyway. There is nothing positive that smoking can accomplish, and when individuals quit, it really can be quite cathartic. 
  • Limiting alcohol: If you regularly indulge in social drinking, decrease your intake. Unlike smoking, light to moderate alcohol consumption, particularly if red wine is the choice, can actually be good for you. However, if you take in more than you should, organ damage might occur.   
  • Eating healthy: Everyone has the right to splurge every now and then.  Still, if fatty steaks, sugary desserts and/or salty snacks are frequently a part of your diet, then unpleasant consequences, like a sluggish metabolism and foggy mind, could mar your heath. Instead, choose lean cut meats (no more than four ounces per serving), fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grain breads. Your body will thank you in a multitude of ways.    
  • Exercising: Some people cringe at the thought, but exercise is beneficial in almost every stage of life. The secret is—do what you enjoy. Some people love to jog, others like to take in the fresh air while briskly walking, some enjoy the equipment at the gym, while others can't wait to stretch with the latest Pilates or yoga DVD. Whatever fitness-type is pleasing to you, indulge. Staying active keeps the body strong and mind frame positive. (Note: Never begin an exercise program without the consent of your doctor).

Some final thoughts? A pharmaceutical grade, antioxidant-rich multivitamin will do its job at the cellular level to help stop free radicals from causing harm to your body. Subsequently, you may want to talk to you doctor as to whether or not one is right for you. Also, interacting with contemporaries enhances a social network and gives us something to look forward to, so have a good time.

Growing old gracefully is a frame of reference, the way we live, how we interact with others. Take care of yourself—and your physical and emotional well-being will greatly outlast any youth serum or hair tonic.     

Ross Capobianco is president of Home Instead Senior Care — a provider of home care services to seniors living north of Boston. He can be reached at 781-662-2273 or bostonnorth@homeinstead.com.   

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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