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Aging Gracefully with a Disability
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Aging Gracefully with a Disability

Not one of us is looking forward to getting older.

Let me rephrase that.

There are those among us who are looking forward to and can truly appreciate the benefits that come with experience. But I do think we’d most like to stay young forever.

When living with a disability, getting older might also seem a bit more daunting than it is for the average person.

But contrary to what you may believe at the moment, aging gracefully, whichever your disability, is quite possible – all you need to do is adjust your lifestyle a bit.

Stop looking at the negative

The biggest obstacle to living a healthy and happy life is having a negative attitude and general outlook on things.

Those who know what they are talking about will tell you that the only thing you can change in life is the way you look at it, and they would be right.

No matter what’s happening to you and around you, no matter what you’re going through, and no matter how bad your health challenges might get, the way you deal with them is up to you.

Positive people tend to live longer and healthier lives – and age better too.

Take care of your body

You’ve heard this one before: your body may not need to be your temple, but you do need to treat it well if you expect it to return the favor.

Whatever physical challenges you’re faced with, there will be a way to work around them and work with them.

And while it may be difficult every single day, especially when you’re also dealing with chronic pain, you’re still better off doing it.

Exercise as much as you can, but don’t forget that movement is only half of the equation. You also need to mind what fuels your body.

As we get older, our nutrient requirements change, so make sure your diet grows as you do.

Take care of your mind

Caring for your body is not enough – you also need to mind your mind, so to speak.

Apart from the obvious physical challenges that come with aging, the one thing that probably gets us down the most is the sluggishness our minds seem to enter at some point in life.

And while this is inevitable, there are several things you can do to keep your mind fresh and sharp.

Try to read as much as you can, about anything that interests you. Exposing your mind to new ideas is a great way to encourage it to stay up to speed.

Try a brain game: be it the daily crossword or any different game you enjoy playing, try to do it every day. There are tons of apps available you can use for the purpose. And of course, there’s always chess.

Eat more brain foods.

Learn a new skill, be it a new language, playing an instrument, playing a video game, knitting, making airplane models – whatever it is you never had time for previously, but that will keep your mind (and even hands) occupied for a time.

Accept the unpredictable

The fact remains that your disability might cause you some unpleasant surprises from time to time.

Instead of trying to avoid this truth and refusing to face the fact, you can choose to accept it and prepare for it as much as you can.

Depending on your disability, you’ll need to ensure your personal space is as safe as possible and remove any potential hazards and dangers. You can also invest in a medical alert system that will provide an extra layer of security if you need it.

Most importantly, make sure someone checks in on you (via phone, not necessarily in person), just to make sure that even if something unpleasant happens, you get help as soon as possible.

Don’t stop making friends

Loneliness is an increasingly widespread condition among all populations, but senior citizens are more prone and more affected by it.

No matter what your disability is, don’t let it tie you down to the house and prevent you from socializing. Try to get out as often as you can, with as much help as you may need.

And when you’re absolutely tied to the home, invite people over. Humans are social beings, and cutting ourselves off from the human touch for whatever reason can quickly prove detrimental.

As long as we exercise a healthy attitude toward aging and our own condition, getting older doesn’t have to be as bad as we fear. It might be difficult to maintain this kind of mindset every day, but as long as you try, half the battle will be won.

Image credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/BHNxfaeNCTI

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