Define What Well-Being Means to You

Ways for Older Adults to Improve Well-Being and Enjoy an Active, Vibrant Lifestyle

As people age, they tend to become more aware of their own mortality. By middle age, many people have lost family members or friends to an illness or tragic accident, or they may simply become increasingly aware of the signs of aging such as wrinkles, aches and pains. While the fountain of youth and its promise of immortality have yet to be discovered, there are many strategies you can use to improve your health and well-being as you grow older.

Define What Well-Being Means to You
To most people, being healthy and well means maintaining both physical and mental health, living a life of relative ease without overwhelming stressors and insurmountable challenges. It’s worth taking the time to define, in detail, precisely what your ideal lifestyle looks like. Create a vision board or write a letter to your future self-describing your daily life.

Are you still working later in life?
Do you live in the same town and the same home, or have you moved to an exciting new location in your retirement? Have you started the business you’ve always wanted to start? Are you spending quality time with your grandchildren? Get specific about what your ideal future looks like, and write it down or visualize it through images.

Commit to an Active Lifestyle
You may not dream of becoming the next 80-year-old to run a marathon, but staying active is the key to a long and healthy life. Experiment with different forms of exercise to find something that feeds your soul. Exercise isn’t limited to the activities happening at your local fitness center. Whether it’s golf or yoga, swimming or gardening, fishing or kayaking, there are myriad ways to adopt a more active lifestyle. Even getting a pet can help you get out of the house and walk, while also providing companionship. Finding an activity that you truly enjoy will help you stay on track to meet your activity goals and promote both physical and mental health.

Let Go of Mundane Tasks That Cause You Stress
Do you despise grocery shopping? Hate cleaning the house? Don’t do it. That doesn’t mean allowing the pantry to become empty or the house to become a disaster; it means outsourcing the tasks that you don’t have to do yourself. There are plenty of options for finding local help for house cleaning, running errands, grocery shopping, lawn care, and even handyman services to fix that leaky dishwasher that’s been on the fritz for months. There’s no rule saying that you have to handle all these time-consuming tasks yourself, so let go of the things that don’t bring you joy and the stress that comes with managing chores that frustrate you.

Get Regular Health Checkups
The idea that prevention is the best medicine has been around for decades, and it rings truer today than ever before. Most people dread going to the doctor, but that annual checkup might just save your life by identifying early-stage disease or illness that can be better managed now than if it hadn’t been identified until it had progressed further. Many types of cancer, for instance, have much higher cure rates when identified in the early stages, and identifying health concerns such as prediabetes allow you to make lifestyle changes and potentially avoid the development of related health complications. Ask your doctor to perform any health tests and screenings recommended for your age. If you are prescribed medication, be sure to talk to your doctor about the potential for addiction.

No matter your age, taking steps to preserve your health and well-being today is the best way to promote lifelong health and well-being. Even if you’re genetically blessed and have few health risk factors, staying active, reducing stress, and getting regular health screenings are never wasted effort.