Costhetics is proud to share the latest news and information on cosmetic surgery, body contouring, and other wonderful methods that can help us look young.
Today, however, we want to talk about something different. We want to take a more multi-dimensional approach to the process of growing older and share simple tips that you can use to move into your next decades – whatever they may be – with joy and grace.
What Is Successful Ageing?
Successful ageing is often discussed using criteria set in the 1990s:
- Physical health (Avoiding disease and disability)
- Mental health (High cognitive function)
- Social health (Engagement with life)
Since then, however, the definition has been broadened to include “process-oriented conceptualisations of successful ageing” that “allow for greater variation in developmental patterns and adjust for a wider variety of experiences and contexts that individuals may encounter over their lifetimes.” In other words, not everyone has the genetics, environment, or experience to achieve health in these areas.
“While successful ageing may be one way to describe how well we age, the concept of meaningful ageing may be another important way to consider how to age well,” writes Dr Alan Castel in his book Better with Age. “Meaningful ageing does not involve winners or losers in terms of longevity and health, but rather the need to focus on what is most meaningful to a person, especially in older age.”
Does that sound good to you?
Aussie Superstar David Sinclair Tackles Ageing Head-On
David Sinclair is “a superstar among a group of researchers who have harnessed science and technology’s latest advances in an effort to parse out, for the very first time, the biological mechanisms of ageing in hopes of slowing or even reversing the process,” reports Boston Magazine. “The goal of this field is not to make us young for youth’s sake, but to address the single greatest risk factor for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia, and many other forms of modern-day suffering: ageing.”
Sinclair is author of the best-selling book Why We Age – and Why We Don’t Have To. He draws on experiences he had at MIT, and later Harvard, where he worked with a family of body proteins in yeast. The proteins are usually dormant, but when stressed (by restricted calorie intake, for example), the proteins were able to “enhance health and extend life in yeast.” The scientist then began work to find a substance that could mimic the effects of stressors and one day be turned into a medicine that cures ageing.
You Already Have the Resources to Age Successfully
We now understand that successful ageing means different things to different people. When it comes to quality of life, the true measure of successful ageing, experts urge individuals to develop coping mechanisms that address ageing, in general. These can take the form of:
- Internal resources (attitude, optimism, coping with challenges)
- External resources (available social support, finances, etc)
Resources like these are vital in helping you to make proactive adaptations that combat age-related stress factors such as:
- Loss (people, position, etc.)
- Chronic illness
- Feeling out of step with your environment
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love,” says forever-young Sophia Loren. “When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” Costhetics cautions you not to judge yourself if your internal resources aren’t enough to get you through. Humans are herd animals, and we need others to thrive. Reach out for help when you need it. You’ll be amazed what’s out there to lift you up.
How to Maintain Physical Health While Ageing
No-one gets out of this alive, but people who address problems early can improve their chances for a more positive ageing experience. To keep your health in tip-top shape:
- Don’t Stick Your Head in the Sand – Pain is debilitating. If you are suffering from chronic pain of any kind, see your doctor without delay. You should also see your doctor for annual screening tests and to take advantage of preventative health measures including flu shots.
- Be Active in the Morning – Exercise keeps your body in peak running order. Morning exercise can be particularly beneficial. Find things that fit your lifestyle and fitness level. (Chair exercises, for example, are a terrific workout for older folks with limited mobility.) Check YouTube for a huge selection of exercise-along videos.
- Get Your Sleep at Night – It is generally agreed a minimum of 7–8 hours of sleep is necessary to give your body time to refuel and replenish itself. If you have trouble sleeping, speak with your doctor about solutions.
- Eat Right All Day Long – Good nutrition gives your body what it needs to take care of itself. If you aren’t much of a cook, you can use meal services that deliver healthy, pre-made food for your convenience. You can also reach out to a nutritionist for help developing a plan.
How to Maintain Mental Health While Ageing
The link between mental well-being and overall health is indisputable. That’s why Costhetics is happy to report that new studies show older adults can grow new cells in the brain’s hippocampus region just as well as young adults. The hippocampus is involved in memory, so this is big news indeed. To keep your cognitive decline in check, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends:
- Cognitive Training – Cognitive training is based on the idea that the brain, even in old age, can change for the better. Even simple video games can enhance problem-solving, reasoning, and memory.
- Physical Activity – Yes, we’re mentioning it again! Physical activity has a long list of health benefits, including contributing to brain health. It has been shown to delay or slow age-related mental decline. (Shoot for 7,000 steps per day on your fitness tracker.)
- Blood Pressure Maintenance – Another physical health/mental health link exists with regard to blood pressure. Evidence suggests that the use of medication, diet, and exercise to lower blood pressure may delay, or even prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
How to Maintain Social Health While Ageing
Connecting with others is high on the list for successful ageing. The study Late-Life Social Activity & Cognitive Decline in Old Age found that people who described themselves as involved with activities in their community experienced a “70% lower rate of cognitive decline than those that are less focused or active in their relationships.” COVID may keep you away from friends and family physically, but you can use the internet to:
- See Friends Face to Face – A quick phone call is a great way to connect but seeing someone’s face adds a whole different dimension to the conversation. Try FaceTime or similar apps that allow you to see people.
- Visit with Old Friends – Reconnecting gives you a chance to share new thoughts with an old friend. You will be amazed at how young it can make you feel when you reminisce about the good old days… and the better days yet to come.
- Make New Friends – Does your computer have a camera and microphone? If so, you can drop in on a zillion (literally) online chats with topics ranging from cats to constellations. You can find instructive groups, seminars, chat sessions, webinars, and more. That makes it easy to find new friends who like what you like.
- Travel Alone or with Friends – Travel in the era of COVID? Yes! The internet is a treasure trove of lovely travel videos. These videos can get you out of your own head and transport you to different places you might not have ever explored. You can also meet other like-minded travellers who post comments and strike up conversations.
Don’t Be Anti-Ageing, Be Pro-Ageing Successfully
Cindy Joseph, a make-up artist turned model turned entrepreneur, created the successful Boom pro-age cosmetic line for older women. She truly believed, “Ageing is just another word for living.” No matter what your birth certificate reads, no matter how your looks have changed on the outside, Costhetics reminds you that you are now and will always be your most beautiful, authentic self on the inside. Our ageless advice for ageing successfully: love yourself exactly as you are, at whatever stage you find yourself.