What are the first things that come to mind when you hear “aging” or “aged” or “elderly” or “old”? Are they positive, happy thoughts? No, I didn’t think so. But it’s not all bad and believe it or not, it’s actually possible to grow old gracefully.
Getting Old…. argh!
Let’s face it, here in the western world, aging is kind of a dirty word. We keep hearing how Australia is an aging population and there are endless stories about the lack of aged care facilities across the country. While these are very real and concerning issues, I’d like to tackle the stigma attached with this very normal and natural process.
Getting Old… the Realities
Let’s go back to the images and thoughts that crop up when we hear the word “aging” or “getting old”. The top ones would have to be:
• Grey or no hair
• Memory loss
• Loss of sight and hearing
The undeniable fact is that unfortunately, these things will affect most people, to varies degrees. So what can you do about it? Well, you can do nothing or you can “get in the driver’s seat” as my Dad says, and grow old as gracefully as you can. Here are some suggestions.
Aging Well on the Outside
Thankfully, the blue (or pink / purple) ladies hair tints; seem to be a thing of the past. Nowadays, men and woman have many options to choose from to tackle grey hair as well as hair loss. Balding was once seen as an inevitable part of aging, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Advances in treatments (ranging from shampoos to surgery) mean you can keep your youthful appearance for longer. To find out more about the options available, check out well established and reputable companies such as Transitions Hair.
Then there are the dreaded wrinkles. I think the single biggest factor here is to take care of your skin. The Aussie sun is intense, and the quickest way to prematurely age yourself, is to bake yourself. I grew up at the beach and remember seeing people whose skin was incredibly brown, yet incredibly dry and wrinkled like an old leather bag.
Aging Well on the Inside
Arthritis, osteoporosis, heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s, dementia….. depressing isn’t it? But are these inevitable outcomes of aging? I don’t think so. Here in the West, we usually only think about our health when we are sick. Whereas in the East, prevention is not only an ethos; it’s a way of life. Japanese Emperors used to behead their physicians if they got sick! So what are the cornerstones to preventative health? For me it comes back to absolute basics. Diet, exercise, stress management and having a positive attitude towards life and living.
You can’t change your genes, but you can empower yourself with information and advice and start taking action now. After all, prevention is better than cure, right?