Aging expert reveals how retirees can live healthier, happier lives

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Imagine being 100 years old and still dancing at the Tango festival. That’s what Evangeline Shuler did to fuel her passion. It gives him so much joy. She fills her life with learning and new experiences. Shuler has completed 114 tours with the Road Scholars adventure company. His mind is active and his thinking is clear. It’s the kind of life that many baby boomers dream of living. There are many inspiring stories of people who have reached their 90s and still have a high quality of life. Based on his research on aging, Dr. Eric Larson, author of Informed Aging, offers some revelations on how baby boomers can work to live long, happy and healthy lives. Considered the nation’s leading expert on aging, Dr. Larson, MD, MPH, is a professor in the Department of Medicine and Health Services at the University of Washington, with the highest honor of being an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. He founded and directed a longitudinal research program focused on healthy aging and the delay and prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

“Having a meaningful and fulfilling goal is essential to your long-term happiness,” says Dr. Larson. “Millions of baby boomers are choosing to have a life of service, which provides a positive feeling of doing something of value that helps others. As you age, the most important thing is to focus your life on what gives Meaning in your life and pleasing you. It might look like very active grandparents to some people, while others would like to work in a charity or give a few hours each week to help immigrants or young people learn to “It’s important to just do what satisfies you,” he says.

A very active 75-year-old, Dr. Larson stressed the importance of staying active and engaged. Based on his research, he identified three reservoirs that you must develop and nurture to age well. These are mental, physical and social. He explained that a person’s mental reservoir involves the need to engage their brain. The physical reservoir includes diet and exercise. Finally, the social reservoir comes from your relationships and experiences with family, friends, and new people you meet along the way.

In retirement, people focus more on the social relationships that are most important to them. They want to spend time with their family and friends. It also encourages retirees to develop friendships with younger people, as they can replace older friends who pass away. “Younger friends keep the vitality of life alive,” he noted. “In the mental arena, people neglect to have active mental engagement compared to watching television.” Instead, engage your mind daily, like reading or playing the popular game wordle. Try to learn something new which is an essential way to delay aging. For example, a man liked to play the piano in his youth. For years he had not played. Then in retirement, he revived this old hobby.

Dr. Larson said moving your body through exercise is fundamental to your health. “The #1 thing to prevent dementia as we age is daily physical activity. It’s as close to a magic bullet as we’ve come. Being sedentary and inactive is the kiss of death,” says Dr. Larson.

Former Microsoft program manager, retiree Glen Anderson has made physical challenges his main focus in life. “I’ve climbed over 60 mountains since retiring 18 months ago,” said Anderson, who lives in the Pacific Northwest. “The Mount Adams climb was twelve miles, a 6,700 foot ascent, and at the top I was 12,276 feet above sea level. Mountaineering is the most exhilarating thing I have ever done. ( You can read Anderson’s full story in Fobes’ article”Retired and bored? Inspiration and advice on how this retiree lives it.” Now this is active.)

The key to a happier life

Aging brings heartaches. There’s one trait every retiree should strive for to be happy as they age, and that’s resilience. Dr Larson explained: “Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from difficulties. Think of the palm tree that bends during the hurricane. It bends but does not break. As you age, you will lose loved ones. You have to accept that this loss is happening and bounce back from this adversity. His solution is to build your resilience.

The American Psychological Association defines resilience as the process and result of successfully adapting to difficult life experiences. Psychologists define resilience as the process of coping well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress, such as family and relationship problems, serious problems health or financial stressors. Think of resilience as a “rebound” from these experiences while involving deep personal growth and empowerment.

Here are some specific ways to intentionally build resilience:

Prioritize relationships. Connecting with empathetic and understanding people can remind you that you are not alone in difficult times. Unfortunately, the pain of traumatic events can cause some people to isolate themselves, but it’s important to accept help and support from those who care about you.

Have a plan. Make a list of things you want to do in the next two years. Then find and trace everything you need to do to make those things happen. If it’s a trip, explore all the new places you see. Look for tours or cruises that allow you to experience a new adventure. Don’t wait: Prioritize these bucket items and schedule them as soon as possible.

Join a group. Find groups or places that interest you for local or online activities and become a member. These people have a common interest so you can develop new friendships. For example, try a book club, pickleball, knitting, golf, biking, hiking, bands, or card games. The centers for the elderly offer many activities and events to discover.

Help others. Having a meaningful purpose is essential to your long-term happiness. You can volunteer and work for a charity, be part of a church mission, or simply help out a friend or neighbor. By helping others, you can find fulfillment, foster self-esteem, connect with others, and make a difference.

Be proactive. It’s helpful to acknowledge and accept your emotions during difficult times, but it’s also essential to help foster self-discovery by asking yourself, “What can I do about a problem in my life ? » If problems seem too big to solve, break them down into manageable pieces. Taking the initiative will remind you that you can muster motivation even during times of stress, increasing the likelihood that you will bounce back from painful experiences.

Accept the change. Accept that change is part of life. Specific goals or ideals may no longer be attainable due to adverse situations. For example, you may see aging decline, such as no longer being able to drive at night. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed or controlled can help you focus on the things you can change.

Maintain an optimistic outlook. It’s hard to be positive when life isn’t going your way. An optimistic outlook allows you to expect good things to happen. He knows that you will have good days ahead of you. Try to visualize what you want rather than worrying about what you fear.

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