Home care experts at ComForcare have come together this month to share ten ways to help seniors lengthen their lifespan:
- Protect Your DNA. As we age, the ends of our chromosomes — called telomeres — become shorter. This makes people more vulnerable to disease. You might think there’s nothing you can do, but new research suggests otherwise. In a pilot study, lifestyle changes boosted an enzyme that increases telomere length. Other studies also find diet and exercise can protect telomeres. So healthy habits may slow aging at the cellular level. Speak with your home care provider to share ways you can incorporate healthy habits into your life.
- Be Conscientious. An 80-year study found one of the best predictors of a long life is a conscientious personality. Researchers measured attributes like attention to detail and persistence. They found that conscientious people do more things to protect their health and make choices that lead to stronger relationships and better careers.
- Make Friends. Science has given you one more reason to be grateful for your friends – they might help you live longer. Australian researchers found elderly social butterflies were less likely to die over a 10-year period compared to people with the fewest friends. Another analysis of results from 148 studies supports the link between plentiful social connections and longevity.
- Choose Your Friends Wisely. Your friends’ habits rub off on you, so look for companions and cargivers with healthy lifestyles. Studies indicate obesity is socially “contagious” – your change of becoming obese increases by 57% if you have a friend who becomes obese. Smoking is another habit that spreads through social ties, but the good news is that quitting is also contagious.
- Quit Smoking. While it is no secret that giving up cigarettes can lengthen your days – the amount of extra time may surprise you. According to a 50-year British study, quitting at age 30 could increase your lifespan by an entire decade. Kicking the habit at age 40, 50 or 60, boosts life expectancy by 9, 6 or 3 years, respectively.
- Embrace the Siesta. There is scientific evidence that napping may help you live longer. A recent study with 24,000 participants suggests that regular nappers are 37% less likely to die from heart disease than occasional nappers. Researchers think naps might help your heart by keeping stress hormones down.
- Follow a Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean diet is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and fish. An analysis of 50 studies involving more than half a million people shows the impressive benefits of this diet. The findings show it significantly lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome – a combination of obesity, elevated blood sugar, increased blood pressure, and other factors that raise your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Speak with your home care provider to discuss healthy meal planning options.
- Eat Like an Okinawan. The people of Okinawa, Japan once had the longest life expectancy in the world. Researchers attribute this to the region’s traditional diet, which is high in green and yellow vegetables and low in calories. Some Okinawans make a habit of eating only 80% of the food on their plate. As younger generations have veered from these traditions, life expectancy in Okinawa has fallen.
- Get Married. Several studies show that married people tend to outlive their single counterparts. Many researchers attribute the difference to the social and economic support marriage provides. While a current marriage offers the greatest benefit, people who are divorced or widowed have lower mortality rates than those who have never been married.
- Lose Weight. If you are overweight, slimming down can protect against diabetes, heart disease, and other life-shortening conditions. Belly fat appears to be particularly harmful. A 5-year study of Hispanics and African-Americans suggests eating more fiber and exercising regularly are effective ways to reduce harmful belly fat.
To help you make healthy choices and changes in your lifestyle, have a conversation with your family caregivers, doctors, and home care providers to garner their support. Home care service providers are happy to offer assistance with healthy meal planning, diet, and exercise. It is never too late to make healthy adjustments that have the potential to lengthen your lifespan. By partnering with your family and home care providers, seniors can gain the support they need to implement these healthy habits.
About ComForcare Home Care
ComForcare is a premier provider of private-duty home care services to people of all ages with offices conveniently located nationwide. We can help make life easier for those coping with a chronic medical condition, recovering from an illness or injury, or dealing with the challenges of aging – in the comfort of their own homes. We offer elderly care services including personal care, homemaking, transportation, companionship and family respite services to improve the quality of life and level of independence for every individual and family receiving our services. Each ComForcare office is independently owned and operated.
ComForcare Home Care
2510 Telegraph Road, Suite 100
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302