A Holistic Approach to Healthy Aging

(This guest post is authored by Michael Lockwood, PA of IPC/Senior Care of Colorado)
The term “holistic” comes from the Greek “holism,” which means all, whole, entire, total.  A holistic philosophy encompasses the entirety of an interdependent system. It recognizes that each aspect has an effect on the whole. Taking a holistic approach to aging can make the process more enjoyable and fulfilling. It’s not how long you live – it’s how well you live. 
Here are some ideas to help you feel balanced and well.
  • Make an effort to stay active and engaged. Everyone wants to feel important, loved, and needed; this may be especially true as we get older. It can be all too easy to stay in and become isolated and depressed.
    • Take advantage of social opportunities.  
    • Nurture your relationships with family members, neighbors and old friends.
    • Volunteer your time. 
    • Practice your faith.
  • See your primary healthcare provider regularly.  Stay on top of your healthcare visits and communicate openly with your provider about any and all physical concerns you may have. This is true whether you have ongoing medical concerns, or if you are feeling great. 
  • Feed yourself a healthy, nutritious diet.  Stay away from highly processed, packaged, fast and fried foods; instead, eat your fresh fruits, veggies, grains, and lean proteins. 
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Regardless of age, the body needs good, sound sleep to restore and recover. A brief catnap during the day is okay, but don’t overdo it. Staying active during the day will help you sleep well at night. Use sleep aides sparingly—they can sometimes do more harm than good.
  • Exercise regularly within your ability. Regardless of whether you’re walking, doing a seated exercise class, or maybe even yoga or a round of golf, exercise has great benefits to the mind and body. It will help keep you physically strong and flexible while feeling good mentally and emotionally. Just check with your medical provider before starting any new strenuous activity to be sure it is appropriate for you.
  • Stretch your mind. Exercising your mind is helpful in staving off Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Keep your brain agile and fit by challenging it with crossword or Sudoku puzzles. Join a book club. Teach your grandson chess. Sitting in front of the television does not qualify!
  • Spend time with Mother Nature. Fresh air and sunshine are good for us! Whether sitting outside in the courtyard for an hour, going for a leisurely walk through the neighborhood, or attending your grandchildren’s soccer game, get outdoors when you can. (And wear your sunscreen.)
Our “golden years” can be some of the best times of our lives if we allow them to be. As you face day-to-day challenges, remember that everything you do affects your whole being. Even small steps in a positive direction can have a profound impact on your life as a whole.