Some, such as Kirt Spradlin, don't care a whit about what their necks look like. The great-grandfather is one of those vigorous and optimistic elders who astounds his peers. Naturally, he tires more easily and has to take things slower, he says. But having battled prostate cancer , the California man relishes every single month that life affords him. When asked his age, he proudly replies, "79 and a half.
The former electrical engineer took up a new hobby after retirement: Just last year, he and wife Donna went on a weeklong backpacking trip -- just the two of them alone in the wilderness. But for him, aging with a bad attitude is simply out of the question. The Spradlins have grown old with astonishing grace and acceptance. But depression is a real threat among the old; some drift into isolation, bitterness, and a sense of meaninglessness.
Still others put up their dukes, determined to go down swinging. Face-lifts and tummy tucks?
The Old Are Survivors
Experts who have worked with thousands of seniors share their insights into how you can navigate emotional challenges in order to age gracefully. It's true that aging brings hardships, but remember that the old are survivors -- a select group. Wisdom, resilience and a mature perspective are often cited as the hard-won prizes of aging. But growing old itself is an accomplishment. Through good luck or good genes or both, the old have dodged fatal accidents, premature disease, and other things that kill the young.
A dose of healthy denial can improve outlook in one's later years, she adds. They're not really focusing on what's not working anymore.
If you sit around mulling over the meaning of existence and how time is running out, you're building in a scenario where you're not going to age as successfully. During the course of his career, Illinois psychologist Mark Frazier, PsyD, has worked with thousands of older people "ages 65 to ," he says. Again and again, he's seen an important key to psychological health: But if you know that ahead of time, it's much easier to manage it," he says.
As they encounter the natural changes and health status that are part of aging, these things are experienced as negative and adding a lot of stress and strain to their life. Rigid thinkers tend to get overwhelmed. They can't manage it, and they get depressed. Sue Ellen Cooper, 62, understands Ephron's dirge about "compensatory dressing" and obligatory hair dye.
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So you may as well do what you can and then forget it because there's so much more to life than how you look and what other people think of you. Almost a decade ago, Cooper started the Red Hat Society to celebrate women 50 and over. Red Hat now boasts 40, chapters in the U. Regular moisturizing will do wonders to the smoothness and elasticity of your skin. Leaving it protected against wrinkles and scarring and keeping it soft and touchable. On many occasions, we forget to pay attention to the hands and focus purely on the face, which leads to visible signs of aging on the hands.
To avoid this, apply a generous amount of sunscreen in the morning and a hand cream that has retinoid at the end of the day. Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A. Most dermatologists recommend it because of its anti-aging effects. It increases the production of collagen which prevents fine lines. It is also responsible for the development of new blood vessels leading to a healthy rosy skin. The benefits of exercise are extensive.
Among them are the feel-good hormones which are produced when we exercise: These make us happier and improve our energy levels. Exercise is also a great way to build muscle. The older we get, the more muscle we lose; this is as a result of degeneration. However, we can remedy this through resistance training which increases mass and strength.
The Modern Guide to Aging Gracefully
Staying active does not have to involve the gym. You can go for a walk or take the stairs instead of the elevator, play with your children or grandchildren, or even attend yoga sessions. These activities keep your heart rate up and keep you looking young and feeling healthy. Exercise is also great for the skin because it increases the blood flow to the cells including skin cells hence nourishing them.
At the same time, the blood flow carries away the waste products from the cells. This process, therefore, cleanses the skin. Exercise helps straighten up your posture by reversing the bone loss that occurs as we age. Weight training and resistance exercise help you develop a strong back and shoulders. This bone loss starts occurring after you are 40 years old.
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When your shoulders are hunched and your head is down, people interpret this to mean that you are unhappy. A good, strong posture, on the other hand, is seen as confident, open, and energetic. Diet plays a huge part in our appearance, health, and our mood. It is important that we pay attention to this part of our lives. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low in sugar is highly advisable. This is in contrast to a diet that is rich in fatty foods and processed sugars, which will leave you feeling lethargic and accelerates aging.
Vegetables and fruits contain antioxidants which reverse the signs of aging. Including good fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in such foods as walnuts, salmon, and tuna are great for protecting your skin and making you look younger. According to a study done on bone loss, taking a certain prescribed amount of vitamin D and calcium daily for postmenopausal women helps reduce the bone loss rate by almost half. This, therefore, strengthens and straightens your posture.
According to a report by the Mayo Clinic, smoking significantly speeds up the aging process. It is, therefore, advisable to avoid smoking cigarettes. According to a study from Yale University , people who viewed aging positively lived 7. To reiterate this, according to the Journal of American Medical Association, seniors who viewed aging positively wisdom and overall satisfaction are 40 percent more likely to recover from a disability than those who see it as synonymous to helplessness.
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The more you embrace getting older and appreciate its positive aspects the happier you are and the younger you look. In a study that was conducted in , women who cut or colored their hair thought they appeared younger and had lower blood pressure.
When it comes to hair color, some people prefer coloring while others embrace their gray. Your gray hair can look sophisticated with just the right cut and just the right hairdresser to execute it. Dark hair causes your features to look severe while a lighter blonder color softens your appearance. Hormonal changes that occur during menopause can cause your hair to become thin and brittle; however, coloring it can bulk it up.
This is because the hydrogen peroxide in the bleaching agents causes the hair shaft to swell making it appear thicker. Over time our teeth discolor due to wine stains, coffee, tea or smoking.