In my practice I have the opportunity to treat elderly people for a variety of symptoms ranging from headaches to neck- and backaches.
And it’s amazing how one elderly person can live so much better than another. After years of practice and asking questions of those elderly folks who are “living well, ” I definitely see a pattern.
But before I can share their “secrets” to living a great life, we have to agree on certain meanings of words or vocabulary.
When I was growing up (I was born in 1964), if you were fifty you were old. In today’s society if you are fifty you could be starting a new career/job, going back to college, starting a business, raising your kids, raising your grandchildren, taking care of your parents, buying a second home, or all of the above. So when I use the word “elderly” in my context, I am referring to a population that is seventy years of age or older.
When I say an elderly individual is “living a good life, ” I am referring to the fact that this individual is taking care of himself—from a health perspective, financial perspective and social perspective.
If you are below the age of seventy and think this article is about the elderly, you are wrong. This article is about how your actions today can lead you to an active, relatively pain-free life beyond the age of seventy.
So what is the “secret” to living a healthy, longer life? From a medical perspective, genetic predisposition obviously plays a role. But after having taken medical histories of many elderly people, I see a pattern or a common denominator of those who are living well.
And here it is…
¨They take three or fewer medications daily.
¨They take at least a multivitamin.
¨They exercise daily.
¨They still work a minimum of 3-4 days per week.
¨They eat small meals.
¨They have active social lives.
Obviously, certain medications are important, especially if you suffer from diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart problems, etc. Some of these health problems, however, may also respond to changes in your eating habits. Therefore, if you are on these medications, you should speak to your doctor about consulting a nutritionist. Altering your nutrition lifestyle now may well result in reduced medications in the future.
If you are overweight, suffer with a heart condition or even diabetes; it is best to get your weight and sugars under control when you are young. Diabetes can take a toll on your body as you age.
Elderly people who are living well take at least a multivitamin. When questioned about their intake of certain vitamins, most stated that they take at least one multivitamin a day. Some take additional vitamins, depending on certain aches, pains, and genetic predisposition.
Exercise, such as aquatic (pool) therapy, occurs on a daily basis for at least thirty minutes, with emphasis on stretching and flexibility. These range-of-motion maneuvers address the underlying issue of degenerative changes or arthritis in the spine.
Most work 3-4 days a week in part-time jobs that require mental concentration. Some do it for the additional money, some do it for the health insurance, and some work because it provides a purpose and allows them to feel valued.
Small, frequent meal consumption throughout the day is an underlying pattern. This is a great habit to develop when you are in your thirties. Eating in this manner will aid in weight management and reduction. It also keeps your sugar levels in a proper range throughout the day.
Volunteer work is also an underlying pattern. There is a need to give back to the community, to their religious affiliation, etc. When questioned about why they volunteer, most answered me, “Why would you not volunteer? That’s what we are supposed to do in life. We are supposed to help each other. ”
They have active social lives and are usually surrounded by friends and family. Their schedules are usually filled with working part time, traveling with family, meeting friends for breakfast and lunch, participating in book clubs, taking day trips, etc.
Although medical complications can arise that compromise daily living, one should still strive to meet the actions as detailed above. And the idea is to start these actions when you are young—before they become a necessity.
This article should end with some humor, for I feel humor is one of the most important ingredients to feeling younger. As I age I might have to give up sweets, decline an extra piece of bread, avoid pasta, etc. , but I will not give up my sense of humor and neither should you, my friend.
I end with the following quote to bring a smile to your face.
“You know you’re getting old when all the names in your black book have M. D. after them. ”
Here’s to your Health, Wealth & Happiness!
Michael J. Kaye is a chiropractic physician practicing in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He is a member of the American Chiropractic Association, Pennsylvania Chiropractic Association and the American Chiropractic Rehabilitation Board. He has a sub-specialty in Chiropractic Rehabilitation.
He is the director of The Rehab Group of Bucks/Montgomery County-a multidisciplinary clinic with an emphasis on chronic pain and wellness. He is a publisher of two papers on rehabilitation of chronic injuries. In general his clinic promotes nutritional and lifestyle changes for the chronic pain patient. Additionally, he has published several articles on finance and wealth, happiness and motivation; and health related issues.
Dr. Kaye also developed a web site dedicated to Health, Wealth & Happiness. He authored an e-book titled, “The Living Triad”-a book about building a foundation for a well-lived life. Website- http://www.frompaintopersonalgain.com