Our bodies and minds change with age, which can be challenging both to us and to our loved ones.  Because of these changes, how we live our lives can alter drastically from one decade to the next, and no matter how prepared we are, we never know what is around the bend. Despite this uncertainty, research has shown that adopting certain habits protects us as we age.

Maintaining and encouraging the mobility we have is important. Whether under our own power, with the aid of a cane or walker, or in a wheelchair or scooter, moving our bodies is important for many physical functions, including blood flow and muscle mass. Falling can be life-threatening for seniors, and two of the most important things we can do to protect ourselves from falling are stretching and strengthening. Everyday chores like gardening and working around the house are good for balance and strength, and walking, biking, yoga, pool classes – anything that helps us stay moving – is good for us. If you have decreased mobility, you can work with someone who can help you expand your range of motion and strength, or you can find videos online to help.

Whether you are an extrovert or an introvert, having the right sort of friendship and love in your life is vitally important to well-being. Expanding our concept of family can be helpful, since many elders do not live close to biological family, and finding your “chosen family” is now so much easier with the advent of online social networks.

The way we tell ourselves the story of difficult events shapes the way we cope with our world. These stories create pathways in our brains that can hold us back from making positive change. Learning how to tell the story of events in a way that is self-affirming helps us get through the tough times. There are many ways to do this, from talking things out with family and friends to seeing a therapist. Resilience is something we can all learn to build.

As seniors, we can expect that things will change. Facing each day with a spirit of gratitude and flexibility will help as we navigate the challenges aging can bring. We invite you to browse the related resources to see how seniors all over the world are working with these issues.