Even at age 70 or older, the choices you make about exercise, eating and your health remain important --a nd at this point in life, it’s worth taking a second look. As Miriam C. Morey, an expert on aging at Duke University , put it, seniors “need to reset your thinking in terms of what you’ve been doing and what you want to do in the future.”
Here are some questions to ask yourself — or your doctor — and simple measures to adopt to maximize your chances of aging well.
Miriam C. Morey, professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine and senior fellow in its Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development:
As you get into the older age bracket, you need to reset your thinking in terms of whatever you’ve been doing and what you want to do in the future. We need to transition into thinking about mobility, how to augment or enhance it. From an exercise point, ask: Are my legs strong enough? Can I get out of my chair without using my hand to help? Do a simple test: Put your arms across your chest and see if you can get out of the chair without using your arms. Also, what is my balance like, because once you reach this age [many] start to lose their balance. Can you stand on one leg? Start practicing. You should think about your strength because that’s one of the most important thing about maintaining your independence. Do less cardio and do more things for strength — lower- and upper-body.
Alicia Arbaje, an associate professor of medicine and the director of transitional care research at Johns Hopkins Medicine:
Reevaluate and revise your health-care goals at least twice a year. (Choose your birthday and another day during year.) Avoid the care you don’t need. For every medication that you are on, ask yourself and your health-care provider the following questions: Do I still need this medication? Do I still need it at the same dosage? Is there an alternative to this medication, such as a change to my lifestyle? Have a captain of the ship. As your health-care needs evolve, it is critical to have one health-care provider coordinating your care and reviewing your medications. Seek the guidance of a geriatrician to help.