Old age can be daunting. As we grow older, our golden years turn into a journey comprised of medical problems, new-found difficulties at work, or chronic illnesses that seem to pop out of nowhere. However, these obstacles are not written in stone.
Older adults are not condemned to physical limitations. They are not condemned to chronic pain, decreased mental well-being, or a small fixed income based on social security.
Recently, studies in brain science have shown that there are ways that older adults can maintain good physical functioning and preserve their mental stamina.
Successful aging inspires the idea that the aging process doesn’t need to be about the cognitive decline or physical ailments of certain older age groups. Instead, it’s about understanding that in the final decades of a person’s life, there are healthy habits that can enable that person to LIVE fully with little inconvenience.
Whether your idea of successful aging in older adults is about living a healthy life, maintaining mental stamina, or enjoying the fruits of your labor financially, this article aims to give you quick, potentially life-changing nuggets of information that are achievable for all of your family members.
The first and probably most obvious way to achieve optimal health as older adults is to stay active.
You’ve heard it said before, “A body in motion stays in motion.”
Achieving physical health does not mean needing to resort to extreme measures. Great physical well-being means that maintaining movement, such as a brisk walk in the morning every day, can significantly increase your overall physical functioning throughout your old age and significantly increase your chances of successfully aging.
As an older adult, allowing your heart rate to increase every day is a healthy way to reduce the risk of heart failure. By avoiding exercise, there is an increased risk of heart attack due to little physical activity.
Successful aging and well-being start with the activities you pursue. But that’s not all. Successful aging includes a lot more than physical movement.
Watch What You Eat
Want to know a secret?
The older adults of Sardinia, Italy have provided a fascinating and vital contribution to our understanding of healthy aging and well-being. Known for being home to “the world’s longest-living men,” this isolated, Blue Zone city in Italy seems to have cracked the code to healthy aging as well as prolonged physical and cognitive functioning.
What has this model of successful aging discovered?
It all begins with the foods you eat.
This has been a major topic of study amongst neuroscientists at Harvard Medical School for quite some time. As it turns out, their studies were not in vain.
Because of their isolation, the people of Sardinia, Italy are limited to locally sourced foods. They eat a mostly plant-based diet only “accented” with lean proteins. While environmental factors can play a factor in the food sourced from an area, the people of Sardinia choose to eat only the foods that are locally grown in their region.
Regardless of what “diet” you subscribe to, there is one thing that all diets have in common. Few fried foods and more fruits and vegetables. When you eat a nutrient-dense diet, you not only prevent certain illnesses but also add to the longevity of your life.
Learn a New Skill or Take a Class
“Success is good at any age, but the sooner you find it, the longer you’ll enjoy it” -Napolean Hill
There are many motivational quotes for success, but most are vague about the secrets to successful aging. We’ll let you know, one of the major secrets is to keep your brain active!
Cognitive functioning is critical to understand. One in three Americans will suffer from dementia in their lifetime. Many people will have a family member suffer or will suffer from this cognitive disease.
Take neuroscientist Daniel Levitin’s word for example.
Daniel Levitin superbly defines how the human brain ages in his beautifully written book “Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives. Levitin’s narrative ease talks about the reasons why some people experience memory decay while others don’t. He says that “Statistically speaking, the two most important personality correlates that predict successful aging are conscientiousness and openness to experience.”
By training your brain to learn new skills, and actively participating in logical and critical thinking, you can successfully age your brain and reduce the risk of dementia or other memory loss illnesses.
But, cognitive functioning is only part of learning a new skill. Social interactions and social functioning work hand in and in successful aging.
Maintain Social Connections and be Part of the Community
In a time when the average life span of a man was a mere 69 years old, Albert Einstein said that “Only a life lived in service to others is a life worth living.”
This man lived to the ripe age of 76. That’s successful aging if you ask me! This leads us to another one of the healthy practices that every older adult must learn in order to elevate their well-being.
It may sound a little strange, but humans have a biological need to be around other humans. As a species, we have learned to survive by forming tribes- groups that can protect us from harm. By serving others, we are actually serving ourselves in the long run.
When studying the art of successful aging, it has been made clear that the overall life satisfaction of the older population deeply relies on social interactions and communication.
Dr. Joe Disspenza’s novel “You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter,” tells the fascinating story of a group of elderly men who suffered from one illness or another. Some had memory troubles, others suffered from physical ailments, etc. Either way, these men suffered from old age.
All the participants of this study were given multiple tests to measure their health prior to this experiment and then placed in a shared house that included all the aspects of their lives 20 years prior. Magazines, furniture, and television shows were available all dated back 20 years.
Over the course of 2 weeks, the men started sharing their compelling personal experiences with the group in an engaging and accessible manner. They seemed as though they were all buddies or family members within that short time because they all had interesting yet similar stories to share of times past.
This experiment in successful aging further proved one of the best lessons science has to offer: your mind matters. Social functioning is not one of the difficult scientific concepts to understand. Community and communication are just two of the small yet important factors that lead to good health, successful aging, and elevated well-being.
You may be thinking to yourself “Yes, this is all fine and dandy in thought. But how can I possibly afford to live a successful aging regimen when I’m on a fixed income? How can I put this multidimensional concept into action?”
Believe me, it’s not as impossible as it seems. If you are 62 years of age or older, you are closer to the defined successful aging achievement than you think. YOU have options.
Nowadays, 62 is the new 52! Thanks to modern science and technology, the average life expectancy continues to rise with every decade that passes. In 1990, the average American life span was 75 years old. In 2022, that life span has raised to 79.
There are different ways that successful aging can be done with ease. In fact, it’s never too late to financially plan for or during retirement. Many seniors take the route of reverse mortgage lending when it comes to planning their financial situations.
One of the best options for someone looking into successfully aging is through a reverse mortgage.
What is a Reverse Mortgage?
A Reverse mortgage is a financial product for homeowners 62+ who have built up equity in their home and can supplement income, pay off an existing mortgage or pay for medical expenses with a cash lump sum. And the best part, no monthly mortgage payment is required.
A reverse mortgage is a safe, proven financial tool that can help seniors achieve financial peace of mind while being able to stay in their homes to live out their golden years independently, comfortably, and successfully!
A reverse mortgage is a federally insured, non-recourse loan with no pre-payment penalty that has no impact on social security or Medicare benefits.
Learning more about this type of loan and how it works, plus additional operational guidelines stating eligibility and ideal candidates are necessary to ensure the successful processing of your application.
Do I Qualify?
Now, how do you know if a reverse mortgage is right for you? If you are thinking about a reverse mortgage, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself at this critical period in your life.
- Are you at least 62 years of age?
- Do you own your property outright, or is the mortgage small enough to be paid off in the reverse mortgage process?
- Do you occupy the property as your primary residence?
- Are you delinquent on any Federal debt?
- Is your home considered a single-family home that meets FHA requirements?
If you answered “Yes” to all these questions, then you may be able to qualify for a HECM Reverse Mortgage.
This is great news because your reverse mortgage can and WILL help you achieve financial freedom to age successfully!
“Aging inevitably brings infirmity” is a LIE.
If you take the proper precautions and CHOOSE to live a conscientious life that follows the guidelines above, you will have achieved the goal of successfully aging.
As long as you maintain good physical health, supplement your mental health with books and new skills, pay attention to the foods you eat, and make wise financial decisions, the road to successful aging is in your sights!
If a reverse mortgage sounds like something you would like to supplement your aging and provide you with the financial freedom to make the life choices essential to your happiness, Idaho Reverse Mortgages can help you exceed your needs! Give us a call and see how we can help you live life to the fullest!