We don’t like to discuss it because of all the anxiety that comes with it, but old age is something we’ve all got to face. And while there’s a lot more in the news about what you can do to prepare for the onset of things like Alzheimer’s or dementia, what are the real issues we can prepare for at any age? And in fact, it’s not even just issues that are related to old age, but the fact is that deterioration is something that happens to all of us. So what are the main concerns and what can we do about it?
It’s something that affects a lot more now in the modern world than it did decades ago but that’s not to say that modern living is the cause for us all running the risk of getting cancer. The risk of developing cancer does increase as we age. And the rates of skin cancer are through the roof now, especially in younger people, so that’s not to say that it is exclusively an age-related condition. Cancer is something that can have a profound impact on our lives, and while there is no one way to prevent it, as we’ve all seen that even young, seemingly healthy, individuals can get cancer at a young age. And a lot of people are now subscribing to the fact that cancer is down to an acidic body which a lot of people are dismissive of. The only thing we can all do to keep on top of this is to make sure we get regular check ups and listen to our body. Also if you feel that something isn’t right, especially on a superficial level, such as moles or lesions, that you have a concern about there are specialised organisations like SkinHealth UK who can screen you for tests. The amount of research into cancer is continually increasing, but the cliche is, of course, that we do our best to live healthy lives and cut down on stress. And this isn’t just a vital part of your life as you get older, but it’s something you can do right now, whatever your age.
Arthritis And Osteoporosis
In many ways, two sides to the same coin. Arthritis is a leading cause of disability and affects half of the elderly population in the world. Preventing arthritis is all about doing regular and steady exercise rather than overdoing it at the weekend. A decrease in bone mass is a major contribution towards osteoporosis which can be prevented by avoiding specific triggers such as alcohol, smoking, and even drinks like soda, which will encourage your body to lose calcium. If you don’t have enough calcium in your diet, it is taken from our bones. Exercise is another way to increase bone mass, and there’s a lot of research in weight training as a way to increase bone density. But the trick is, especially if you are over 50, to build up your baseline level of fitness, which means you need to do just enough to feel the benefits, but also make sure that you rest adequately.
Hearing Loss And Vision Impairment
One of the first things to go as we age, our vision can be affected by varying ailments such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Surprisingly smokers are at a higher risk for macular degeneration, and it’s a habit that needs to be stubbed out as soon as possible. Again regular check ups will be the key to preventing something like glaucoma, because if you lose your vision due to that, you can’t get it back. Hearing loss is a major issue for people as they get older and it doesn’t just impact the quality of life, but it can be seen as a contributing factor towards depression and withdrawing from social activities. And while there are solutions for coping with hearing loss such as hearing aids, only one in four people use them. Lifestyle is a big contributor to hearing loss, especially if you go to loud concerts and use earphones that go directly into your ear canal.
Depression And Anxiety
Naturally, as we become concerned about our mortality issues, anxiety and depression can rear their ugly heads and can cause us to feel disconnected from our loved ones. Depression is such an overarching condition, but research is showing that the one thing that will help with managing the symptoms of depression is a social life, however little it may be. Feeling withdrawn can compound itself, so if you can find a way to interact with people, this will be a big help. For a lot of people, depression arises as a side effect of retiring. Many people find their sense of self-worth is tied up into their work and so feeling without purpose has led to an increase in suicide rates. To combat this feeling of uselessness, it’s vital that you stay connected to whoever is around you. As we age, we think of more about the parents or grandparents we have lost, but with the children and grandchildren that come along, it is a new lease of life. Ultimately it’s about finding what makes you happy and gives you a sense of purpose in life, which is something we all tend to lose track of because we are dwelling on the more negative parts of aging.
These are the most fundamental parts of getting older. We are all susceptible to more disease, mental health problems, as well as losing our faculties. Prevention is always better than cure as we age, but if we can enter into old age with an open mindset rather than a negative one, this will prepare us more for the challenges that lie ahead. They say a mind is a terrible thing to waste, but also our twilight years can be a waste if we don’t use them properly. Whatever your age, you can start now to think about putting the lifestyle practices in place that will help you to enjoy your old age and make the most of your time on this earth. So, do the things you’ve always wanted to do, while you can!