Wednesday, December 4, 2019

#338 / Good Advice As We Get Old

Louise Aronson, a professor of geriatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, has written a column in The New York Times. That column got my attention. At my age, as my birthday comes around (and it is getting closer, every day), I am impelled to confront that G-word: "Geriatric." Does it apply to me?

No, no, not yet! Tell me it couldn't be true. According to Merriam-Webster, the word "geriatric" means this: "of, relating to, or appropriate for elderly people." There could be some applicability there! Of course, let's argue "elderly." Didn't somebody tell me that 70 is the new 40? 

Hmmmm. They didn't, huh? Dang!

Aronson's column suggests two things of which I took notice. First, men stop becoming elderly a lot sooner than women do. In other words, men die at a significantly younger age than women. Second, and a lot more helpful from my own (male) perspective, there may be something that can be done to stave off that "elderly"/"geriatric" adjective. Here's some good advice on how to live long and prosper. I commend it to all of us!

Aging and old men (and women) should do for themselves what our health system will not: get regular exercise, some aerobic and some that builds muscle and improves balance; eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish and less packaged foods; get a hearing aid at the first sign of hearing loss to preserve brain function and social life; remain engaged in ways that matter — don’t retire, or take up new work, paid or otherwise; nurture meaningful relationships; plan for your future elderhood, as that’s the only way to remain in control of it.

Life is different in old age, but with these basic steps toward better health and well-being, research has shown that elderhood can be not just as meaningful and enjoyable as earlier adulthood, but even better.

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