A positive outlook on life and aging is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and greater longevity. Older adults with an optimistic outlook tend to recover faster from injury or disability, have a lower risk of chronic disease and a reduced risk of memory loss. Fortunately, studies show that optimism can be learned and pessimists can develop positive thinking skills through practice to support better health.
Lifestyle factors account for three-quarters of changes in the brain associated with cognitive decline, and modifiable factors such as being physical active, staying socially engaged and keeping your mind active can substantially reduce dementia risk. Dementia-friendly living spaces and assistive technologies that assess the risk of falling or wandering, or help with tasks of daily living, support people with dementia and family caregivers and can enhance their quality of life.
Can living in a retirement residence improve your health? It turns out a number of the reasons seniors choose to move into a retirement community are the same factors that can provide a multi-faceted health boost for both mind and body.
September is when kids go back to school, and it’s also a perfect time for older adults to embark on new formal or informal learning opportunities. Research studies show that lifelong learning offers multiple and lasting health benefits for older adults. Active, ongoing learning increases brain resiliency, promotes social interactions, boosts mood, eases stress and is also linked to longer life and healthier behaviours.
Lower back pain affects up to 80% of Canadians and is the most common health problem among older adults that results in pain and disability. It’s more common among sedentary people and new international guidelines recommend exercise and other non-drug options as first-line treatments. Staying active, doing tai chi, yoga or other gentle stretching and strengthening exercises, and having good posture can help to prevent or ease low back pain.
New research suggests consuming protein more evenly through three daily meals helps older adults maintain muscle strength—rather than only consuming protein-rich food during dinnertime. Protein-rich foods such as cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, eggs and peanut butter can make breakfast as good for your muscles as chicken or lean meat at dinner. Regular physical activity—including some strength exercises—is also important for preventing or slowing age-related muscle loss.
Are your retirement years really the best of your life? “Yes!” says a 2016 Merrill Lynch/Age Wave report on leisure in retirement. According to the report, retirees aged 65 to 74 reported having more fun than any other age group surveyed.
Mindfulness practices such as meditation, tai chi and yoga offer many physical, emotional and cognitive benefits for older adults, including family caregivers. Researchers have shown that mindfulness techniques can improve mood, ease depression, lower stress and reduce feelings of loneliness. These practices can also promote clearer thinking and judgement, improve balance to prevent falls, and reduce the risk of heart attack and hospitalization.
Now that we’re in the midst of summer, take advantage of all it has to offer by enjoying warm weather activities in the great outdoors.
A UBC study found that older adults are more likely to stick with a fitness plan if they exercise with people of a similar age. Group exercise classes offer the combined benefits of physical and social activities for healthy aging. These include a lower risk of disability, depression, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and premature death, improved balance, as well as better cognitive health and quality of life.