5 Ways to Join the Longevity Revolution

Longevity

When I turned 60, I knew for sure I wanted to live to at least 100.

I’ve been so busy the past 40 years with day to day details – earning a living, having a fun life, caring for my family. I hadn’t planned much for my future. I did quit smoking 20 years ago and started walking to counteract the weight gain. But other than that, aging isn’t something I’d thought much about.

When I started researching longevity, I learned I should have started preparing years ago. The advice is resounding: to be a young 50-year-old, be a young 40-year-old; to be a young 60, be a young 50. Here I am at 60 looking at 70. It’s time to get this show on the road.

In her TED talk about her “third act” in life, Jane Fonda says, “There have been many revolutions over the last century, but perhaps none as significant as the longevity revolution.” She points out that we’re living about 34 years longer than our great-grandparents did.

While it’s not entirely up to us how successfully we’ll age, here’s my starting formula for hopping on the longevity bandwagon.

Live a Conscientious Life to Achieve Longevity

The Longevity Project by Howard S. Friedman, Ph.D. and Leslie R. Martin, Ph.D. documents the 8-decade study started by Dr. Lewis Terman in 1921, following subjects from childhood to death. The authors tell us it’s not a good marriage or economic status or ideal weight that matters most to living long. It’s conscientiousness.

The study found conscientious people are less likely to do unhealthy things: smoke, abuse drugs or not wear a seatbelt. Conscientious people are less impulsive and make better choices. They tend to do what is right: being kind to people, following doctor’s orders, flossing, exercising like we should and eating right.

Stay Strong and Stand Up Straight

Here’s where we need to step it up as we get older. Unless we work it, muscle strength starts to decline about five percent every decade after our 30s. Strength training can reverse post-menopausal bone loss. Twice a week, I follow a strength training routine for women over 50. I thought I was in better shape and am surprised how my muscles rebel. But I’m sticking to it so I’ll be strong at 70 and maybe even at 100.

Flexibility and balance are good old age repellent, too. Stretch every muscle in your body every day. It feels so good once it becomes habit. To improve balance, try what I do: stand on one foot while you brush your teeth and switch feet when your electric toothbrush gives you the 30 second timer.

Good posture makes a huge difference in how you look and feel as you age. Start noticing other people’s posture, and your own automatically improves.

Practice Optimism

In her book UP: How Positive Outlook Can Transform Our Health and Aging, Dr. Hilary Tindle writes that our outlook “has the potential to influence every facet of our health from how quickly we recover from an illness or surgery to whether we become depressed, develop cardiovascular risk factors or suffer a heart attack, stroke or cancer, and even how well we care for ourselves when our health begins to break down.”

The gist is that optimists live longer and live better than pessimists. It’s so easy to practice optimism. Look up at the stars or the clouds and appreciate the beauty. Pick up a shiny penny and put it in your pocket for good luck. Smile at your grandbaby and know the meaning of perfect. Find joy everywhere you go, and keep your outlook optimistic.

Manage your Rest and Relaxation

Sleep is so important, and it’s my own biggest struggle. Now that my Fitbit tells me how little I really do sleep, I don’t know if it’s making my nights worse or if it’s pushing me to find a solution. It helps to know I’m not alone. There’s good company right here at Sixty and Me, and I plan to integrate lots of good advice.

I do try not to stress about my lack of sleep. Since I’ve started meditating 10 minutes every morning, I feel more energized for the day. And on nights when I sleep only four or five hours, I schedule the luxury of an afternoon nap. I’m worth it.

Embrace Learning, Creativity and Change

It drives me crazy to hear people say, “I don’t do the computer” or “I just want a flip phone, not a complicated smart phone” or “I liked it better how it used to be.” It’s time to get with the program, people. We live in an age none of us imagined when we were kids, and embracing technology will keep us young. My 86-year-old mom is a whiz with her iPhone.

Make it a point to learn something new every day. Do something creative every day, even it if’s just throwing ingredients into the skillet with a different spice. If there’s something new, give it a go. It’s okay to let your grandkids show you how to program the DVR, but then do it yourself.

I’m absorbing everything I can about living a long and happy life. There’s a lot of science to it, and there’s a lot of common sense. I’m certain my formula for longevity will evolve over the coming decades. But I’m joining the “longevity revolution” now. I wish I’d jumped on years ago.

The post 5 Ways to Join the Longevity Revolution appeared first on Sixty And Me.

The post 5 Ways to Join the Longevity Revolution appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

Why Healthy Gut Bacteria is So Important for Older Adults

Healthy-Gut-Bacteria

Imagine a rain forest teeming with life. All around are trees reaching seemingly to the sky, monkeys swing through the branches, vividly coloured birds shout noisily to each other, butterflies flutter by flowers, wire haired pigs snuffle in the dirt, underneath our feet tree roots form a dense mat.

All these and many more plants, animals, fungi and bacteria are living interlinked lives, all part of a complex and dependent ecosystem. This level of complexity with micro habitats, different species and a sensitive ecosystem exists in your gut.

The gut microbiome is the community of micro-organisms that lives inside your intestines. Each of us has thousands of species of bacteria and fungi, which differ from each other more than a lion does from a jellyfish.

These gut microbiota are not passive travellers that accompany us through life. They have an active role in digestion and absorption of food and even influence our immune system.

There are many thousands of different species of bacteria present in every individual, but the dominant species of bacteria can differ from person to person. Having an unhealthy mix of gut bacteria has been linked to obesity, diabetes, auto-immune disease and depression.

Having a healthy balance of gut bacteria is also critical to healthy ageing. Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure a healthy gut microbiome to live a long and healthy life.

What Do Gut Bacteria Do?

Before we can access the nutrients in the food we eat, it needs to be digested, or broken down into small enough particles to be absorbed into our cells.

Although our bodies produce many enzymes that break down food, we cannot access all the available nutrients on our own. Gut bacteria in the large intestine break down otherwise indigestible components of food, such as fibre, providing up to 10% of our daily energy.

Actually, some of these bacterial products are key nutrition sources for cells in the intestine and liver. These bacterial products also regulate appetite by increasing the release of hormones that give a feeling of satiety.

The bacterial products of healthy bacteria even have an influence on the immune system because they decrease inflammation.

What Happens to Gut Bacteria as We Age?

As people age, the gut microbiome changes and becomes less diverse. The dominant species of bacteria also change. These changes are related to things like hospital admission, medication use and dietary changes.

In particular, eating a diet that is low in fibre can deplete certain species of bacteria. Some of these changes may also be related to the physiology of ageing.

With age, there can be changes in the immune system that lead to constant low-grade inflammation, which may also influence which bacterial species predominate. When there is less diversity in the gut, this gives the opportunity for bad bacteria to take over, and they can cause a variety of diseases.

Not all people will have the same health status in older age. Older adults who have less physical reserve are described as frail.

People who are frail are much more vulnerable to the development of new disability from a seemingly minor insult. The cause of frailty is incompletely understood, but there is a strong association with inflammation, or inefficient activation of the immune system.

Frail older adults have a much less diverse gut microbiome than robust older adults. This, in turn, might increase inflammation and lead to increased frailty.

Therefore, the result might be more disease causing bacteria growing in the gut, which can lead to infections, like urinary tract infections and pneumonia.

How Can You Keep Gut Bacteria Healthy?

We still have so much to learn about the bacteria that live with us. Looking at the bacteria present in faeces doesn’t necessarily tell us which are the bacteria most important for health.

Commercial probiotic tablets only carry a limited number of bacterial species, and as yet there is no evidence that these have any impact on ageing.

The dominant bacterial species in your gut will depend on what you feed them. Bacteria reproduce very quickly and the rate of reproduction for a particular species of bacteria is influenced by whether its preferred ‘food’ is available.

Changing from a diet high in sugar and processed foods to one high in fibre can rapidly change the profile of the gut bacteria. High fibre foods include whole grains, vegetables, fruit and legumes.

Why Vegetables Are So Important to Gut Health

Inclusion of a large number of vegetables has another benefit for gut bacteria. Polyphenols are naturally occurring chemicals in plants that can increase the number of health associated gut bacteria. These can also be found in red wine and chocolate.

It is only in the last few years that we have started to understand the importance of the gut microbiome, and there is still so much to learn.

While there are no direct therapies to enhance the microbiome for ageing, it is clear that our diet plays a key role in creating the right environment. By eating a diet rich with fresh, whole foods you can gain trillions of tiny allies in the path to healthy ageing.

 

The post Why Healthy Gut Bacteria is So Important for Older Adults appeared first on Sixty And Me.

The post Why Healthy Gut Bacteria is So Important for Older Adults appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

Living with Roommates in Retirement – The Golden Girls Were Right!

Roommates-in-Retirement-Golden-Girls

Many of us share common fears as we enter retirement. We fear financial challenges, failing health and feelings of disconnectedness as we grow older. The good news is that there is one strategy which can help us effectively face all three – living with roommates.

Shared housing is an age-old concept that is becoming the latest housing trend. More than a third of Baby Boomers are single and most of those flying solo are female. The reason? Living alone is expensive and simply beyond the reach of many single retirees.

Living alone can also prove to be isolating and lonely. Neighbors don’t necessarily become support systems. Housemates often do. We all have fond memories of watching Blanche, Dorothy, Rose and Sophia bond (for better or worse) on The Golden Girls TV series in the late 1980’s.

Embracing the idea of retirement with roommates opens the door to affordable shared housing options. You’ve done it before (which is why you may be cringing as you think about being in a roommate situation again). Likely you gained something from that experience. Retiring with roommates makes sense on many levels.

The Benefits of Living with Roommates in Retirement

First and foremost, it is cheaper to live with other people. You share housing costs, utilities and often food. If you own a large home, you can offset the cost of maintaining it by taking on roommates. You get to age in place and your roommates gain a more affordable way to live.


There’s something to be said for having friendly faces around instead of empty rooms.


There will be other people to share chores and responsibilities and to provide a helping hand when needed.

It is more likely that someone will be around to help if you take a fall, to notice if you don’t come home or to call 9-1-1 when necessary. This can provide real peace of mind.

There is a sense of security that comes with having roommates – and not just when you hear a noise in the middle of the night. You gain companionship and people to potentially share holidays and special occasions with. Your circle will grow, as you meet the friends and family that roommates bring to the equation. Only you can decide if that is desirable or not.

A sense of community is good for your mind, body and spirit. We need people around us to offer advice or support, provide social interaction, get us out of the house and push us to try new things. Living with other people is one way to create such a valuable support circle.

The Challenges of Living with Others

There are, of course, challenges to living with other people. Collaboration and cooperation are key to a successful house sharing arrangement. People who live together need to maintain healthy boundaries and respect privacy.


Roommates are not surrogate spouses or friends. They are not caregivers, chauffeurs or home health providers. They are your partners in a living arrangement. Perspective is key.


An ability to respect other opinions, religions, world views and lifestyles is essential. Most of us have lived with a roommate at some point in our lives (at camp, college or in the military) and we know how challenging it can be. We’ve also learned from those experiences, and potentially have more to offer (and gain) in a shared housing arrangement as adults.

Making Shared Housing Work

A written (and signed) rental agreement is essential to outline house rules, shared responsibilities for rent, related bills and household chores and to help maintain harmony between housemates. Private and shared spaces in the home should be clearly outlined. Policies regarding visitors, overnight guests and quiet time are important.

Potential roommates should provide references and undergo a background check at minimum, and be introduced to their potential housemates if possible. People who interact well with each other in a social setting are more likely to get along as house partners.

As with many things in life, it’s the ingredients which lead to a successful outcome. The ideal roommates should share some similarities and interests, but also bring unique strengths to the table. Maintaining a home requires many different talents, including cooking, gardening, handyman skills, painting, pet sitting, bookkeeping or working with contractors.

Being able to make a unique contribution to the household will help each housemate feel needed and appreciated, and learning from each other can be a great bonding experience.

We all crave a sense of community in our lives. I write about different ways to “live alone, together” and create shared connections in my book, Retiring Solo.

The post Living with Roommates in Retirement – The Golden Girls Were Right! appeared first on Sixty And Me.

The post Living with Roommates in Retirement – The Golden Girls Were Right! appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

How Knitting Has Become a Big Part of My Life in My 60s

I can remember learning to knit as a small child and being delighted when I produced a hideous scarf, full of holes and dropped stitches and strangely wider at one end than the other.

Can You Recall Learning to Knit, or Your First Knitting Project?

My real passion for knitting began when I was about 14, and Twiggy was the style icon of the day. She was photographed in a short Shetland wool sweater and every teenager wanted one.

Luckily, a pattern was available, and along with a group of friends, we started our projects. We used bright colours of beautifully soft Shetland, double knitting, and we would smuggle our knitting bags into school so we could knit and natter during our lunch break.

Whilst most of my friends gave up after that flurry of activity, I have continued to enjoy knitting to this day.

After the Twiggy inspired sweater came a huge and colourful cardigan for my would-be husband, copied from one worn on the TV series Starsky & Hutch. It was, if I am honest, a terrible fashion mistake, but it did get a bit of wear before disappearing to the bottom of the cupboard.

Then came a useful cricket jumper for the same lucky man, knitted whilst flying to the USA, when knitting needles were still permitted in the cabin.

Knitting for the Family

Marriage and babies came next, and I was in my element making delicate lacy jackets and shawls, followed all too swiftly by hand knit school sweaters and chunky arans for weekend wear.

If I could persuade my husband to mind the children, I would slip off to the local wool shop and browse the pattern books for hours on end.

To be without a project was like being deprived a cigarette (I imagine!) as I hated to have a pair of idle hands and loved to knit whilst watching TV or listening to the radio.
But before long, my girls had minds of their own, and their tastes didn’t run to hand made anything. So, I turned back to myself.

Oddly, nearly everything I make for me never seems to turn out right and goes to the charity shop. I stuck to baby clothes for a while, using much loved patterns. A favourite pattern was for a blanket that would wrap around a new-born when in a car or carry seat. I must have knitted dozens.

Experimental Knitting

Do you find yourself going back to old favourites that you know will turn out well, or do you prefer to experiment with new projects?

When my mother died, I kept her knitting needles and patterns – some patterns going back in time to my childhood. When you start to look at old patterns, you realise nothing much has changed in style – just a wider range of yarns and colours are available now.

I have been fascinated by the craze for ‘colour bombing.’ This is an art form where a town is transformed by knitters decorating railings, gates and lampposts with pieces of knitting in order to cheer up everyone.

I joined a colour bomb challenge in my home town. We knitted strips to wrap around a model replica of our famous ‘Beachy Head Lighthouse’ and raised money for charity.

Colour Bombing

Have you come across ‘colour bombing’? Maybe your town would benefit from some knitted decorations!

Inevitably, over the years, all my projects resulted in a huge stash of left over wool – just bits and pieces and oddments. Nothing of much use, or so I thought.

Now that we have the Internet, the days of lingering in the local wool shop are long gone. I went online for ideas for unwanted wool and found two projects that caught my interest.

One used all my baby wool leftovers – knitting little hats for premature babies. Many of our hospital prem units are crying out for these in a variety of colours and styles as each baby keeps their own hat, and they are only used once.

The second project is knitting ‘twiddle muffs’ for people with dementia. I had never heard of them before, but after some online research I found a pattern and am looking forward to getting stuck in.

The idea is that the patient can put their hands in the muff and fiddle with all the embellishments that I will add. Dementia patients are soothed by touch so adding ribbons, beads, knitted flowers etc. all give interest.

A knitted pocket can be useful for small items such as a hanky. This is a project where you can let your imagination run away with you!

I shall carry on knitting for as long as I can, and I intend to use my stash of wool before I buy anymore!

The post How Knitting Has Become a Big Part of My Life in My 60s appeared first on Sixty And Me.

The post How Knitting Has Become a Big Part of My Life in My 60s appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

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