Healthy Ageing – different life habits for different decades in your life
5th July 2019
Whilst many people try to avoid it, ageing is a natural part of life and through every decade our habits and bodies change over time.
From your 60s through to your 80s, there are a number of things that change and this includes not being as mobile and needing stairlifts around the home, as well as other parts of life like hobbies.
Laurie Orlov from Aging In Place Technology Watch agrees that your lifestyle changes as you grow older.
“Lifestyles change in accordance with people's income, energy and mobility as they age. There are 90-year-old individuals like Frank Gehry who are still practising architecture and those with limited mobility and means who slowdown in their 60s.”
This guide will look at everything from health, food, work and even how your home can change as you grow older.
In your 50s
After 50 it is common for people’s bodies to begin to get weaker and sight and hearing can also begin to decline at this stage of your life.
For women, it is common for the menopause to hit, and for men, the prostate starts growing which is why it is important to have regular check-ups with your doctor to check that you don’t have an increased risk of cancer.
You start to notice changes in your health
Kira, the CEO & Personal Trainer at Motivate PT, talks about how people’s health can change in your 50s:
“This is the decade many women may experience menopause. Exercise will help control stress levels and mood swings, and for those that suffer from insomnia, there are studies to show that exercising on a consistent basis can help with sleep cycles.
“Stretching is important as you find your flexibility may begin to decline. Activities like yoga and Pilates are popular for this age group. Keep up the cardiovascular activities too because many people experience shortness of breath in activities that previously seemed 'easy'. Choose 'fun activities' like tennis, hiking etc. This is a time in our lives where we find we have more disposable income, more free time and so travel and fitness activities should be embraced.”
There are a lot of exercise classes tailored especially for the physical needs of the elderly. Where you can learn a lot from a professional instructor and the rest of the class participants, and you can also use one of the many Plusvouchercode discount codes to find another great deal as well!
Our diet can change
Diets can often change with age and one of the most important focuses people should consider in their diet is to keep their bones strong. Diets can play a major factor in this, especially when it comes to osteoporosis, which is a common issue for people as they get older.
Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is key to strong bones, however, there are other lesser-known nutrients that are equally important such as magnesium, vitamin K and boron.
Penny Crowther, a CNHC & BANT Registered nutritionist who runs the Nutritionist London site, explains the important nutrients older people should have in their diets.
- “Magnesium - Magnesium is the third most prevalent mineral in a bone and contributes towards its hardness. Dairy foods which make up a large part of western diets, do not supply good amounts of magnesium. As we get older, getting enough magnesium becomes even more important. Nuts especially almonds, whole grains, rye bread, wheat germ, molasses, tofu, dried fruit and green leafy vegetables are good sources of magnesium.
- “Boron – This has only relatively recently been found to be a necessary nutrient mineral and it plays an important role in preventing bone loss (you need 3mg a day). Boron has also been found to increase low vitamin D levels often low in the elderly population. Food sources of boron are fruit, leafy vegetables, nuts and legumes.
- “Vitamin D - Vitamin D is needed for maintaining a healthy heart and circulation, healthy insulin balance and bone health and is often low in the elderly. Oily fish such as tuna, salmon and sardines are rich in vitamin D. Eggs and vegetable oils also contain some.
- “Vitamin K1 - Vitamin K has only relatively recently been found to be important for bone density. Found in foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, olive oil, cheese and soya beans”
- Plant Oestrogens - Older women should include foods that contain plant oestrogens. Good dietary sources are flaxseeds (ready milled for better absorption), soya beans (edamame beans require hardly any cooking and can be found in the supermarket freezer), lentils, chickpeas and aduki beans.
- Cider Vinegar - Digestive function often declines with age and levels of stomach acid tend to reduce. This can cause symptoms such as bloating and gas. Drinking apple cider vinegar with meals can be helpful for digestion in general and specifically for helping the body absorb bone minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
People start considering downsizing their home
According to the experts at HouseBuyers4u, the percentage of people over 40 selling an empty nest to buy a smaller abode and use the funds for long-term travelling is high.
In an article on Age UK, a recent study by Prudential revealed 73% of older people said they were looking to sell up for a cheaper home with fewer rooms, while nearly half (48%) of respondents said they were seeking to downsize to enjoy a simpler life.
This is backed up by Dmitri Kara from FantasticCleaners.com, who said that many people like to downsize as cleaning can become a real chore for older people with mobility issues.
“One thing we can confirm by experience is hygiene. As a property ages, to keep it fresh and clean, it becomes a chore that weighs more and more over time.”
He explains that bathrooms, kitchens and large bedrooms with upholstered furnishings take a lot of cleaning and that this can become too much for older people to clean and is why many decided to hire professional cleaning firms to help.
“That's why recommend professional hot water extraction, deep cleaning and oven valeting to ensure the well-being of both family and friends is a popular choice.”
In your 60s
The sixth decade of your life is when many people retire and therefore have more time on their hands. It is also a time when your body undergoes changes with many people’s metabolism beginning to slow down.
Kathy Marris from 50 Shades of Age says life really changes in your sixties, “Most older people’s lifestyle will change dramatically in their sixties, once dependent children have left home, home mortgages have been paid off and they’re starting to think about retiring from work. The first big one is the financial impact that occurs when you no longer have to support children, pay school fees nor make mortgage repayments. This relieves financial pressure immensely and leaves more money to be spent on things like travel, pursuing hobbies or renovating homes.”
Kathy goes onto say that following retirement after the age of 65, retirees that have planned their financial future well, may start to spend the kid’s inheritance by travelling the world while others will downsize their homes.
Your sleep pattern changes
Another noticeable change that often starts to begin in your 60s is your sleep pattern changes. There have been studies by the likes of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) showing that as a person ages the prevalence of sleep apnoea increases with a 3.2% prevalence in men 20-44 years old compared to 18.1% prevalence in men 61-100 years old.
Jennifer Hines, the lead marketer at Alaska Sleep Clinic, adds, “Sleep disorders and troubles increase with age, and more than 50% of adults 65 and up have some form of chronic sleep-related complaints, including difficulty falling asleep, trouble maintaining sleep, and the total amount of nightly sleep.
“The reasons for a higher prevalence of sleep apnoea in the elderly is believed to be caused by increased fatty deposits in the parapharyngeal area (areas in the head and neck), lengthening of the soft palate, and changes in body structures surrounding the pharynx. Post-menopausal women not on hormone replacement therapy also run a higher risk of developing sleep apnoea.”
Dr Katherine Rasmussen, a director at Centre for Sleep, says that there is no change in the absolute need for sleep in your later years, with the National Sleep Foundation stating adults 65 years of age and over need between 7 to 8 hours.
“As we age, our sleep becomes more fragmented. We experience increased light sleep, decreased slow-wave or ‘deep sleep’ and reduced REM sleep or ‘dream sleep’. We also tend to sleep more during the day.
“Other factors that change include our circadian rhythms which regulate the timing of our bodily functions such as our core body temperature during the night, as well as, our sleep. Older people tend to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier in the morning and this pattern is called ‘advanced phase shift’. One of the reasons for this is that melatonin the ‘sleep hormone’ which causes sleepiness is secreted earlier in the evening.”
Sam, a sleep expert from Sleep Kick, also explains some changes people experience with their sleep as they get older:
“A weaker bladder means older adults tend to wake up more often. The effects of some commonly taken medications and existing medical conditions also cause broken sleep. Broken sleep results in less time in bed actually spent asleep and is spent tossing and turning.
“There is a reduction in the quality of deep sleep in older adults due to a change in certain sleep-brain waves. Many of the restorative processes of sleep, both physical and mental, occur in deep sleep. As such, older adults can wake to feel unrested.”
Below are some tips to help you sleep:
- Routine - Rise and retire at the same time daily as it is the best way to reset your biological clock.
- Morning light - This strengthens your circadian rhythms and it boosts serotonin the “feel-good” hormone, as well as suppresses melatonin during the day so that you will feel more alert.
- Avoid caffeine - It is a stimulant and stays in your system for hours. Caffeine stops the neurotransmitter adenosine working. Adenosine would normally tell your brain that you are tired and it’s time to slow down.
- Avoid alcohol - Drinking alcohol will result in you waking up, feeling unrested.
- Daily physical activity - Find an enjoyable activity, exercise class or consider working out with a friend.
- Avoid using technology before bed – phones, tablets or TVs. These screens emit blue light which your brain perceives as daylight. This delays the release of the sleep hormone, melatonin, and so stops you sleeping.
- Get comfortable - Older adults can suffer from aches and pains which can keep you awake at night. Try to spend some time during the day getting some light exercise, such as walking, and if you can manage it, some stretching.
- Wind down with a pre-sleep routine two hours before bedtime - Engage in calming activities outside the bedroom, in dim lighting.
People plan more holidays
As people start to retire or consider retiring, they often look to go on exciting holidays and make travel plans to destinations they have always dreamt of going to.
Sheila Berrios-Nazario, a freelance writer and owner of Golden Age Trips says that as you grow older you stop focusing on material possessions and start looking more into experiences. She says there are common types of holidays older people prefer.
“As people enter their golden age, they are looking for longer and more social holidays. Group tours and cruises are some of the preferred holidays for seniors because it relieves them from the pressure of planning, and it increases their sense of safety.
“They also tend to plan for holidays longer than a week and not just a few days. In some occasions, holidays include other members of the family, such as children and grandchildren. Finally, some seniors plan holidays based on what's important to them. Some examples are holidays centred on hobbies, religion, or ancestry.”
Over-60s should focus on their strength and balance
As mentioned, it is important for older people in their 60s to try and focus on their health and fitness as the body undergoes changes. Motivate PT’s Kira says you should focus on strength and balance in your 60s as these are two things that often decline if you don’t work on them.
“Incorporate light weights into your workout routines to build strength (e.g. 1, 1.5 or 2 kg) and focus on your core as this centre-house is the key to balancing. Balance is important because our bone density decreases which may make falls and injuries more prevalent.”
Some common things people may notice in your 70s include changes to your skin as it gets drier and more wrinkles start to appear. According to AARP around one in three women aged 75 through to 85 suffer from osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease, whilst it is at this stage of your life that taste and smell can sometimes decline for some people.
Laurie Orlov, the tech industry writer and speaker, says that older people should really consider buying technology to help them at this stage of their life.
“People should consider technology that helps them stay in touch with other people - whether that is a smartphone, iPad or another tablet, email on a computer.”
She also recommends older people purchase technology for the home such as high-speed internet, smart speakers you can talk to and even sensors that help keep you safe.
Exercise is vital in your 70s
The ageing process can include loss of muscular strength and reduced cardiovascular fitness. These can have physical effects, such as increased pain and loss of mobility, especially when you reach your 70s.
This is why exercise is so important and Steve Hoyles, the owner of Hoyles Fitness, explains what many older people over the age of 70 can suffer from:
“Typically speaking, as we move towards our 70s we lose muscle strength and power. We can still move around relatively freely, especially if we exercise, but if people neglect their weight training and general strength work they start to lose a significant amount of muscle, which causes issues with posture, general movement and also accelerates the onset of bone and joint injuries.
“In our 80s balance can be an issue. This is because as we lose muscle strength, we lose the ability to regain our balance after a trip. The other problem with health in our 80s is a reduction in cardiovascular capability - we lose stamina as our heart and lung function declines.”
Hyde Phillips, a director for At Home Fitness agrees that it’s vital to be active at all stages of your life.
“Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for all ages, but as we get older the positive impact of exercising regularly can become much more significant.
“This is about much more than being just physically fit though. The NHS and many other research bodies have proven that exercise can improve mental well-being, confidence and overall motivation.”
When it comes to starting an exercise programme, Hyde Phillips says the key thing is to start off by doing exercise little and often. He adds, “Always consult a doctor, but try walking, swimming or playing tennis or golf to lift your heart rate and work your muscles. Even better, exercise with one or more other people and make it social!”
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.