Fri, 29 Mar, 2019Andre Smith

How to stay happy and healthy over 65

How to stay happy and healthy over 65

There's no magic formula to ensure that you'll stay happy and healthy, but you have a lot of control over how you feel during your senior years. One key is to keep learning about new things. You'll have more satisfaction in life if you also take good care of yourself physically and emotionally. Make room for the things that are important to you and let things go if they're not giving you joy. Stay open to new experiences and keep your friends and loved ones close. Here are some tips to help you enjoy life more after age 65.

1. Never stop learning

Does this sound familiar? It's certainly an old adage when it comes to staying youthful in your senior years. Learning doesn't just mean taking classes, although there are plenty of opportunities for seniors to learn in a classroom setting. Age is no barrier when it comes to gaining knowledge about things that interest you. Have you ever thought about doing something new like taking sailing lessons or creating pottery? There's no reason not to, and every reason to go for it.

Staying active in mind and body will help keep your life interesting and fulfilling. Simple pleasures like reading, doing crossword puzzles and playing board games will challenge your wits, and outdoor activities are a great way to meet others and learn new skills. People who lead busy, active lives tend to have a happier outlook on life.

2. Practice self-care

Self-care is more than just a trendy buzzword for the younger generation. It's basically the same thing as self-regard or self-love. Many of us are so focused on caring for our spouses, family and friends that we forget to give ourselves the same consideration. Remember to plan something just for your own enjoyment once or twice a week, if not more. Take a long soak in the tub with scented bath salts, work on your latest project, or treat yourself to a movie at the local theatre.

Self-care can also be as simple as taking a nap or curling up with your current favourite novel and a cup of tea. In addition to reducing stress and adding relaxation to your life, doing things for yourself allows you to be more attentive to loved ones. Think of your emotional health as a bucket of water: if you don't add to the volume by taking care of yourself, there won't be anything left to give to others.

3. Look out for your health

Give plenty of attention to eating healthy and getting enough exercise. Making healthy food choices doesn't mean subsisting on bran and carrot sticks. You can prepare meals and snacks that are not only healthy but also tasty and satisfying. A sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to your health, and it can lead to incremental weight gain that sneaks up on you. Simply walking a few blocks each day will get your circulation going and make you feel more energetic. Dancing and bicycling are a couple of other fun activities that will get your heart pumping and strengthen your muscles.

Be sure to make appointments for regular health checkups and follow advice from your doctor. Take advantage of the resources you have for maintaining good health. Continue to invest in private health insurance to give yourself options if you do fall ill or need surgery. Choosing your doctor and opting for a private hospital stay when it's needed are two of the most valuable benefits of private health care. You can use Members Own to compare terms and find the healthcare plan that's right for you.

4. Downsize your life

Downsizing is a catch-all word that can apply to a lot of things. For many of us, the senior years are a time to consider trading a large home for a smaller one with less maintenance. Regardless of the size of your home though, you can probably benefit from going through all your belongings and getting rid of the things you don't use. Decluttering your living space not only makes your surroundings more pleasant, but it gives you fewer things to dust and clean.

If you enjoy travelling, you may even want to downsize to a small apartment and invest in a travel camper. This is an option for many seniors who decide to use their resources to visit friends and family while seeing as much of the country as they can. It's especially a boon when grown children and grandkids live far away. Retirement is the time to focus on getting the most you can out of life, not take care of excess possessions or a labour-intensive home.

5. Try new things

This is a lot like the prescription to keep learning because it encourages you to stay open to experiences that can enrich your life. There's always something new to explore, even right in your own town. Universities host lectures that are open to the public on a wide variety of subjects from astronomy to zoology, and they often invite authors to speak on campus. It can be fun and enlightening to visit the places in your town that draw tourists. You may have gotten so accustomed to nearby interesting sights and experiences that you've forgotten they're right under your nose.

6. Strengthen relationships

People can feel lonely as they get older. Friends move away and sometimes we lose them to illness or death. Don't let yourself become isolated. Having friends makes a major difference in the quality of life, and you're never too old to make new ones. You can find friends at shared activities, volunteer opportunities and any place where you spend a lot of time. Arrange quality experiences with your family, too. Don't wait for them to visit but suggest activities you both would enjoy doing together.

Once you believe you've seen it all, life can seem pretty boring. Try to cultivate a child's sense of adventure and wonder at what the world has to offer, and you'll never run out of things to explore. In many ways, age is a state of mind. As long as you're open to new experiences and relationships, you'll give proof to another old adage, "You're as young as you feel."