The key to healthy aging: Maintaining overall health

As people age, the risk increases for developing chronic diseases such as dementia, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and cancers.

Adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, though, can aid in managing that risk and help those growing older remain in their fulfilling and independent lifestyle.

The National Institute on Aging suggests that consideration for your physical, mental, and cognitive health is vital in preserving one’s quality of life as they age.

This includes staying active, making healthy food choices, getting enough sleep, limiting your alcohol intake, and proactively managing your health care. Managing social isolation, loneliness, stress, depression, and mood through medical and self-care is key for sustained mental and emotional wellness.

Cognition is the ability to clearly think, learn, and remember. Although some people develop Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, many older adults experience more modest changes in memory and thinking. Research shows that healthy eating, staying active, and learning new skills aids in keeping older adults cognitively healthy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), studies show that healthy behaviors, which can prevent some kinds of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease may also reduce your risk for cognitive decline.

Although age, genetics, and family history can’t be changed, the Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention, and care suggests that addressing risk factors may prevent or delay up to 40 percent of dementia cases.

Steps to maintain brain health:

  • Quit smoking
  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure level
  • Be physically active
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Get enough sleep
  • Stay engaged and social
  • Manage blood sugar