Exercise that makes your legs stronger and improves your balance, like tai chi, helps reduce your risk of falling.
Eat for the ages: A good diet supports overall fitness of the body, mind and spirit. Stock your kitchen with lots of high-fiber fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Get screened: Health screenings can spot problems early so they can be treated before they become more serious. Ask your doctor which screenings are right for you.
Myth 2: Depression is a done deal
Despite the challenges aging can bring, the majority of seniors are not depressed, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One reason may be that with age comes more time for things that support mental health, including hobbies, volunteering and socializing.
Nevertheless, seniors are at higher risk for depression. “For some, it happens after a difficult life event, such as losing a partner,” notes Dr. Martin. “Like any other illness, depression should be treated. Counseling, medication or a combination is effective for many older adults.”
Myth 3: Old hounds can’t learn new tricks
“Though some parts of the brain shrink with age,” Dr. Martin says, “that doesn’t automatically mean overall brain power diminishes.”
Research has shown that if given enough time, folks in their 70s and 80s score as well on cognitive tests as younger people. In fact, in areas of verbal knowledge such as vocabulary, elders often outperform their younger counterparts. One possible reason: To compensate for areas that shrink, the brain may activate other networks.
To boost brain power as you age:
Try something new every day. Switch hands to brush your teeth, follow a different route to the store, or solve word or math puzzles.
Tackle unexplored territory. Pick a country whose language or cuisine you admire, and take cooking or language lessons. Have you always secretly wanted to play a musical instrument? Sign up for lessons.
Tie in to social connections. Volunteer in your community, start a book club or travel with a group.
Kettering Health Network is a faith-based, not-for-profit healthcare system. The network has eight hospitals: Grandview, Kettering, Sycamore, Southview, Greene Memorial, Fort Hamilton, Kettering Behavioral Health and Soin.