It’s no secret that getting old takes its toll. Our minds remain young, but our bodies become tired, and they take longer to recover.
Over time, this can take a toll on our mental health, perhaps bringing on depression. This can make life even tougher, which is not how it’s supposed to be in the final years. Especially after how hard you’ve worked and how much you’ve sacrificed.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take, and resources you can use, to help maintain your quality of life even as time just keeps marching on.
Here are some of the most important:
Take Care of Your Body
At this point in your life (though this applies to anyone), the most important thing to consider is your health. Without good health, pretty much everything else is going to be difficult or unpleasant.
Eat a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables and low cholesterol, low-fat foods. Engage in low impact exercise such as yoga, biking, swimming, or water aerobics, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night.
Also, listen to your body. When there’s pain, (and we all know there is) take steps to manage it. Apply heat at night or use a roll on pain relief products. Take it easy if you’re sore or hurting, and don’t try to do too much. Ever. You’re no longer twenty-five!
So many of us experience health problems later in life simply because we are too hard on ourselves. Like we said, our minds remain young. But the better you can get at respecting your body’s age and treating it like a temple, the better your life will be.
Stay Involved in the Community
It’s fairly well documented today that socialization is good for our health in so many different ways. But too many older people find themselves isolated and deprived of the joy of being with others. This can be especially true for veterans, who often find comfort in relating with other veterans, but who can’t always find one another.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. You just have to make the effort to get involved. Check out the local senior center or library to see if there are groups or clubs you can join. Ask local schools if they’re looking for volunteers.
Or, as a veteran, check out your local VA, or consider joining one of the many brotherhoods of former veterans, such as the VFW.
Another option is to go get a part-time job. Check out job boards such as Higher Hire to see if there is anything that interests you. Even just a few hours per week at the local golf course could be a nice change of pace and contribute significantly to your quality of life. And many places have special hiring programs for veterans, so the barrier to entry may be less than you think.
Plus, even if you’re financially all set, who can say no to a few extra bucks?
Stay Open to New Experiences
Another reason why we tend to lose out on some of life as we get older is that we get stuck in our ways. Some of this makes sense: we learn what we like so why bother changing? But it’s proven that people who have new experiences continue to develop their brains, and this is an important part of staving off the worst parts of aging and keeping quality of life high.
Make a point of connecting with younger people and those from a different background. This kind of stimulation not only makes life richer but it helps keep you younger.
In the end, you can’t completely prevent the aging process. Humans have been trying for centuries but have yet to crack the code. But if you take some steps to keep yourself in good health, involved, and growing, you can keep living the good life for many, many years to come.