10 golden rules for successful aging
Martha Stewart's practical guide to caring for yourself and others.
Martha Stewart’s Living the Good Long Life is a practical guide unlike any other: honest and upbeat, with clear and motivating charts, resources, and tips from doctors and wellness specialists. From the best ways to organize your home to protecting your mental well-being and appearance as you age, this book gives accessible ideas that you can incorporate every day. And when it’s time to explore caregiving for others, you’ll know how to enrich their quality of life while preventing your own fatigue.
(Excerpted from Living the Good Long Life by Martha Stewart)
It’s been called the silver tsunami, and it’s headed this way: by 2047, there will be more Americans over 60 than under 15. The numbers of the oldest-old, those over 85, proportionately will grow the most of any demographic. Our increasingly aged population will affect the allocation of physical, emotional, medical, and mental care in our society. And that means we, as the pioneers of this generational landscape, must do our part to redefine the implications of aging and what it means to be, act, and feel old.
Indeed, this redefinition of aging has already begun. In less than a century, we’ve added fifty years to human life expectancy, says Laura Carstensen, the founding director of the Stanford University Center on Longevity. It’s as if, quite literally, we’ve earned a second lease on life—an extra half-century! Yet this new longevity poses significant emotional and psychological dilemmas that as a culture we’re only beginning to address. What does this time frame mean in terms of retirement? What are the new expectations for family, childrearing, and relationships? How does this new chronology affect the definitions of old and young? Until a century ago, there was no such thing as adolescence—a life stage that now’s universally accepted. What will this newly evolving second stage be called?
Perhaps we haven’t established these norms because we like to avoid them. We certainly don’t feel old, at least not old as we’d once conceived it, or as old as our parents seemed at our age. But denial can be risky, resulting in missed warning signs for health complications or lack of preparation for certain contingencies—a seriously debilitating illness, a death of a spouse.
Finding new meaning in aging and embracing the many gifts it brings are possible. For starters, the quality of the rest of your life is more within your control than you think. How long your parents lived is neither a death sentence nor a health insurance policy. It turns out that genes account for only about 25 percent of your health and longevity: the rest is influenced by where and how you live. These are two factors that you can control, starting now, whether you’re in your forties, fifties, sixties, or beyond.
The following “Golden Rules” for healthy living have been confirmed by science and will help you achieve optimal health and successful aging.
1. Eat well.
2. Maintain a healthy weight.
3. Stay physically active.
4. Get quality sleep.
5. Wear sunscreen.
6. Collaborate with a good primary-care doctor regularly.
7. Find your passion.
8. Connect with others.
9. Stop complaining – change what you can and accept what you cannot.
10. Stay curious.