Should we treat ageing as we treat diseases? Can we, and should we, come up with a method of prevention? How can we improve the quality of years added to life instead of just lengthening life?
Participants at the 14th global conference of the International Federation on Ageing posed these questions and many more in their endeavor to bring about a new era of wholesome ageing. The event took place in Toronto in early August.
The history of the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) spans decades – beginning with 1973, when administrations worldwide started to grasp the implications of an ageing population.
This year, panelists offered and debated the latest advice stemming from research breakthroughs concentrating on life betterment in light of ageing.
Here are some of the key findings discussed at the conference that can be incorporated in your day to day life in order to age well:
– Be positive towards the idea of ageing. Treat the concept of growing older as a gift and not a curse, improving your perspective on the experience. Moreover, take into consideration the bias created by valuing young life and the harm perpetrated by ageism.
– Make sure your vaccines are up-to-date. Even if you had your vaccination scheme completed as a child, there are still vaccines to update during your adult life.
– Get between seven to eight hours of sleep each night. It is a crucial aspect for the health of your brain. Getting an adequate amount of sleep is linked to better brain and physical health.
– Exercise. Another way to make a positive impact on both mind and body is being active. Improve your muscle and bone strength, reduce the risk of mental health issues and keep your blood sugar in check.
– Challenge and engage your mind. Picking up a new hobby, immersing yourself in the study of a new language or training your memory will lead to your brain developing neurons and neural connections.
– Do not neglect social experiences. Studies show that social interactions help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and depression.
– Get your vision checked. Do not neglect your eyes’ health – prevention and early diagnosis lead to successful treatment of vision-related problems.
– Medical checkups. Develop a habit of keeping in contact with your general practitioner.
– Mind your nutrition. Eating right entails recognizing the fact that there isn’t one ideal food for healthy living; focusing on eating a range of plant-based meals and incorporating fish and seafood into your diet while limiting alcohol intake is highly recommended.
The key to healthy ageing is not reduced to avoiding diseases as we age, but rather making sure to maintain or develop those abilities that allow us to take part in the activities we enjoy in spite of what obstacles we may encounter.